Clemson midfielder Philip Mayaka It was supposed to be the # 1 pick agreed in MLS SuperDraft 2021 presented by adidas. There wasn’t supposed to be much discussion.
All the illusory drafts got him top. All of the analyzes suggested that there wasn’t much discussion. Matt Doyle described Mayaka as “the first and most obvious choice since Kyle Larrain” in 2015. But it wasn’t that simple. There will be a big surprise at the top of the draft.
Meanwhile, the Colorado Rapids They had already traded for pick # 6 and were looking to move into the top three. Ultimately, they got into a deal to acquire Public Choice # 3 from Houston Dynamo FC (for $ 200,000 in public allocation money). Like the rest of us, they didn’t expect Mayaka to be available. He was at the top of their drafting board, but watched players pool with their top three and then drop.
By the time the Rapids were on the clock, Mayaka was still available for selection. It was not a difficult choice.
It was expected to be the best pick in nearly every dummy draft …
We get it at 3 😉 pic.twitter.com/2myxFISKWU
Colorado Rapids (ColoradoRapids) January 22, 2021
“The way we looked at the draft this year, there were three stand out candidates,” Rapids EVP and GM Padraig Smith told MLSsoccer. “Three top players separated themselves from the rest of the group. When you look at the talent available at the top end of this draft, it was really important for us to play there and get one of those players. To get Philip a really cool finish.”
Mayaka, the 21-year-old, was born in Kenya and came to the United States at Monteverde Academy, Florida, the same Rapids School Forward and Player of the Year 2019 winner Andre Shinashiki. He is the best as a defensive midfielder or in a square to square round, and the tireless but technical midfielder has drawn comparisons with “Dax McCarty with Speed” as well as Latif Blessing and Darlington Nagby.
Smith said, “He’s a really stubborn player. He used the word stubborn more than a few times to describe Mayaka during the conversation.” Technically gifted, good pass, with good awareness. Then you add in persistence and desire, he is a really good power player. We feel committed to bringing in young players, who have the potential to thrive through this league in the long term. “
Watch: Philip Mayaka interacting with Colorado Rapids
Mayaka signed the Generation adidas contract, which comes with a number of roster related benefits. He hits the list as an additional player and his budget fee is not included in the salary cap. GA contracts are typically longer than other entry-level deals while its status as GA means it is exempt from expansion drafts, an added value as three new teams enter the league between 2022 and 2323.
“The ability to lock down one of the nation’s best young talent in a four-year deal where it cannot be picked up in expansion drafts and does not reach the limit is enormous,” Smith said.
Mayaka is positive evidence for Smith that there is still a lot of value to be found in SuperDraft, despite its diminutive effect as huge investments are being made in the thriving academies across the league, including in Colorado, which has produced players for the US national team such as Cole. Bassett and Medal Vines in recent years.
Academies do not cover every inch of the United States. Smith said in particular for some of those international kids who benefit from the collective system in the United States, and understand that it remains a platform for development as a professional. “We still see draft as a quality mechanism for adding good talent. I would like to have a team full of local workers. The guys of our academy do a great job providing a talent conveyor belt, but it’s hard to produce Cole Bassett or Sam Vines every year.”
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