MLS SuperDraft: Adrian Heath Fielding Calls, but Ebobisse Awaits

by on 11 January 2017

With the MLS SuperDraft looming, eyes turn to Minnesota, which selects first overall. Suitors are lining up to trade for the top pick, but the probability is that Jeremy Ebobisse will be a Loon.

Much has been written of center-forward Jeremy Ebobisse, the consensus and overwhelming favorite to be taken first in this year’s draft. He will be an asset to any team that drafts him. Because of this, Adrian Heath has told FiftyFive.One that he’s been receiving lots of interest from clubs around the league looking to trade for their top spot. (Check out the FiftyFive.One podcast special episode interviewing Ebobisse and Minnesotan Jackson Yueill.)

The MLS SuperDraft is something of a trading floor mixer with GMs and coaches mingling throughout the combine, trying to make deals happen. Before he left for the combine, Heath said: “From past experiences, this is where a lot of the dialogue can get done. After dinner you sit around having a beer…” A trade [for their top spot] seems unlikely, however, with Heath commenting “we have to think about what do we want to get out of this.”

Manny Lagos was complimentary of Ebobisse, saying “he’s a great kid. It’s a good example that there’s some really good value and quality in the draft.” Lagos also commented on the opportunities he and Heath have had to see Ebobisse at work both in Minnesota and Costa Rica.

Ebobisse also impressed a lot of people when he trained with Minnesota in the fall. Players and coaches had high praise for his technical ability, but off the pitch he showed class as well. Ebobisse was scheduled to leave on a Saturday morning, but asked that his flight be changed to Sunday so he could watch the Loons play their home match that night.

“We’ve got bags of allocation money and people want that.” -Adrian Heath

There has also been speculation that Minnesota United could either move down in the draft (or up from the second round) to win Minnesota native Jackson Yueill. When asked about this possibility, Lagos was characteristically enigmatic: “we are all about the future…. we are going to make sure we do what we think is best to build this roster for now and the future.” A fancy way of saying: “no comment.”

Reading between the lines: no one has wowed United with an offer for the first pick. The likely outcome is that Minnesota keeps the top spot and takes Ebobisse. The larger question is whether United is working to put together a package to trade back up to get both Ebobisse and Yueil. As Heath puts it: “We’ve got bags of allocation money and people want that.”

The answers to these questions are coming and soon United will have filled out its roster that much more.

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  • John Herman

    We’re in a strong bargaining position.

    We’ve got the top pick and a great prospect to take with it, a bag of money, two almost-first-round picks, and a couple guys from the expansion draft that we could still part with to make a trade work. We can keep it all and get good value out of it, but we also have multiple suitors bidding and aren’t committed to any course of action. I’m enjoying the feeling.

    • Matt

      Agree. The pace of the roster build has felt slow, but there does seem to be a method and a strategy to how the pieces that are falling into place. I think Manny’s quote in this article bears that strategy out – build for the future while still fielding a strong team for the upcoming season. It’s tough to balance that with expectations of potential new fans who would be drawn more immediately by a big name DP signing, but ultimately I think this is the right approach.

  • Alex Schieferdecker

    I like Ebobisse, and am excited for him to join us. He’ll be 20 when the season starts, a year and a half younger than Danladi. I don’t think he’ll start immediately, but I think he will get minutes behind Ramirez and Femi. I’m sure the team will also see whether or not they can find minutes for him out wide.

    I’d love to trade up and get Yueill, I think he’s maybe the smartest player, soccer-wise, that I’ve seen in the combine. But if we stay put, I think we’ll be fine. I’m personally hoping that Shome will drop to us. MLS teams don’t watch NASL at all, and Shome hasn’t stood out in the combine. But I think he’d be a great addition to the club to learn under a player like Saeid.

  • Timber Dome

    Thanks for all the updates on this site, it’s exciting to see things coming together for the Loons

  • Benjamin MacKenzie

    For what it’s worth, Yueill seemed to have my students vote when I gave them a run down of possible picks, their strengths and weaknesses. (Though the girls calling him cute may have tipped the scales a bit)