Sights, Sounds, and Takeaways – 2019 MLS SuperDraft

MLS puts on an impressive event, and the 2019 SuperDraft in Chicago was evidence of that. Here’s a summary of our impressions of the four-hour gala in the Windy City and how FC Cincinnati’s fared.

Takeaways

Our first impression was that . . . these kids are young. We knew that going in, but when actually standing face-to-face to ask them questions, we realized that these are young men very much at the beginning of a journey. For players that start this process in an academy instead of college, the journey begins even earlier. That underlines the point that the development of these drafted players facilitated by FCC is not just technical and tactical. This also entails the development of young athletes into professional adults.

The SuperDraft may be approaching extinction, but not for a few years at least. Between the first and second rounds, Garber addressed the media and answered questions about the future of the draft.

“Our league needs special moments. Our sport needs special moments. This is a moment to provide a young person with a moment to stand up there, thank his family, thank his coaches, and support the youth system, not just the colleges, that he came from.”

Garber continued to say that he still thought the draft is an effective way to market MLS and the sport. To keep the story short — the draft may change format and eventually go away, but we wouldn’t expect that to happen in the near future.

The cast of managers, front office members, and technical staff, many of whom are former soccer greats, is impressive when assembled in one place. Former U.S men’s national team coach Bob Bradley stood out immediately with his clean-shaven scalp and a steely stare. National team heroes like Brad Friedel and Claudio Reyna crowded the draft floor. International newcomers that have competed and managed at the highest levels like Frank de Boer, Matias Almeyda, and Domènec Torrent mingled with the rest. When MLS puts these characters together with the future of young players on the line, the energy is pulsating. The journalists in attendance were no slouches either. Pretty much every soccer pundit you’ve ever followed on Twitter was in the room and swarming Frankie when he was selected — impressive people that no doubt helped to create an impressive event.

How well did FC Cincinnati do? Pretty well if you read the reviews. Travis Clark gave FCC an A+, while Ives Galarcep put them in his “winners” category. In reality, only time will tell. Will Frankie Amaya continue to develop into a bona fide starting MLS CAM? Will he reach great heights with the senior U.S. national team? Is Logan Gdula a near-MLS-ready fullback like many think? Even before factoring in the team recouping 100K in allocation money for some of the Philadelphia picks, overall, FC Cincinnati fans should be satisfied with the outcome.

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Top Quotes and Audio

Frankie Amaya

Why do you think you were number one?

I thought I was the overall best player, not saying it in a cocky way but a humble way. I worked so hard. Nobody worked harder than me, so I think I deserved number one.

Who are your influences?

My idol is Iniesta from Barcelona. That’s who I grew up watching, and that’s my favorite player.

Have you studied Alan Koch and the way he likes to play and do you think you would fit in that system?

I don’t know, we’ll see, we’re starting a new season . . . I have to work for it. It’s not just given. So we’ll see where I fit in. Wherever he wants me to play I’ll be happy to play there.

Full scrum interview below.

Frankie Amaya

Logan Gdula

Being selected, what did it mean to you?

It meant everything, . . . everything I’ve worked for, for the past 22 years. My mom, she sacraficed so much. It’s just a great moment a great experience. I just wanted to show people what it was for me, what it meant to me.

Can you tell us more about your mom?

She had me when she was 18. She dropped out of college and worked three jobs, living with my grandparents. She did everything for me, to make sure I was successful. She worked her hardest. She never gave up on me and never gave up on herself. She’s a fighter.

Do you have any idols or influences?

I was a big Cristiano Ronaldo fan growing up, a huge Man. U. fan. I just thought he was so entertaining to watch.

Full scrum interview below.

Logan Gdula

Jimmy Hague

What was your impression of Jack (Stern, FC Cincinnati’s goalkeeper coach)?

I really like him. He’s really down to earth. It sounds like he’s really going to push me hard.

What do you think got you this far? What do you do well?

Honestly, just working hard. As a goalkeeper, it’s all about just grinding. I spent my first two years at (Michigan) State and just learned and trained and trained. So I think just working hard and always trying to be better.

Full scrum interview below.

Jimmy Hague

Tommy McCabe

What do you know about FC Cincinnati?

I had a few friends that used to play for the USL team . . . seeing how much the fans care about the club and how passionate they are, and how well they’ve done in the USL, I hope that continues.

How do you think you’ll manage the pressure in your first year as a professional after being at a prestigious program like Notre Dame?

Expect anything to come your way, know that there are going to be ups and downs. I try not to get the highs too high or the lows too low, and enjoy the whole process. Every day there’s going to be a new challenge and you have to step up to it in order to succeed.

Who are your influences?

Growing up I was an Arsenal fan. I loved watching them and Thierry Henry. Growing up in New Jersey, when he came to the Red Bulls, I would always go and watch him play. I don’t think we’re the same kind of player at all but I loved watching him play. Then I think from U.S. soccer, I always loved watching Michael Bradley play. He’s one of my favorite Men’s National team players.

Full scrum interview below.

Tommy McCabe

Ben Lundt

How are you feeling?

I’m very excited. Cincinnati was the team I was hoping for. I lived the past 3 years in Ohio, I wanted to stay there. My girlfriend’s from Ohio, her family’s from Ohio, so it all worked out.

How do you prepare for the professional level?

I think Akron prepared me very well for the professional level, every weekend playing against the best college teams in the country, making it to 2 college cups, playing the final just a couple of weeks ago it prepared me very well.

What are your impressions of MLS?

I know a lot about the MLS its something I’ve been following intesnely for the past 4 years. It’s a dream I’ve had for the past 4 years, getting drafted and joining a team, so I’m very excited.

Who are you idols or influences?

Oliver Kahn was my hero growing up as well as Manuel Neuer, but I try to have my own style and take a little bit from everyone.

Full scrum interview below.

Ben Lundt

So that’s a wrap for FC Cincinnati’s first MLS draft. Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s offseason and MLS roster build.

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