The Worst of the MLS SuperDraft
So choose well, Vancouver. For every Maurice Edu, there has been a Nikolas Besagno. To emphasize the point, check out FanHouse's all-time worst SuperDraft XI below.
After highlighting the best players the mechanism has produced, it's now time to call out the selections who haven't fared so swimmingly.
Whether the top pick during the proceedings in Baltimore ends up being Perry Kitchen, Darlington Nagbe or someone else entirely, Vancouver (or maybe a team that trades to the top spot) will hope its choice doesn't belong on this list in the future.
GK Doug Warren (No. 14 to D.C. United in 2003)
It's premature to label 23-year-old Chris Seitz, the No. 4 pick in 2007, as a bust, despite his struggles in Philadelphia last season. After all, goalkeepers often don't hit their stride until their late 20s. So Warren, taken by D.C. early in the 2003 second round, gets the dishonor instead.
The Clemson product failed to impress while filling in for the injured Nick Rimando at the end of his rookie campaign and was released the next summer. Warren landed in New England, where he made just five starts in four years behind Matt Reis.
LB Chris Gbandi (No. 1 to the Dallas Burn/FC Dallas in 2002)
The Liberian left back out of Connecticut enjoyed a solid if unspectacular six-year tenure with Dallas, which is more than most of the players on this list can say. But as the top pick who, was chosen ahead of Taylor Twellman, Brad Davis, Justin Mapp, Kyle Martino and Shalrie Joseph, those pedestrian returns just don't cut it.
To be fair, Gbandi did recover nicely from a torn ACL that cost him his rookie season, making exactly 100 MLS starts before trying his luck in Norway. He now plays for second-division Miami FC.
United hoped it had plucked the next Eddie Pope when it selected the raw but athletically gifted North Carolina center back. Not so. Stokes didn't get a second of MLS playing time under coach Ray Hudson, and his circumstances barely improved during Peter Nowak's tenure. After appearing in 24 matches over four seasons, Stokes took his unfulfilled potential to the second-tier Carolina RailHawks.
When also considering the Warren pick, one might assume D.C.'s 2003 draft was an unmitigated disaster. But the Black and Red also nabbed iron man Brian Carroll and 2004 MLS Cup MVP Alecko Eskandarian. That said, no one will argue United would have been better off with Todd Dunivant, Pat Noonan, Shavar Thomas, Eddie Gaven or Damani Ralph.
CB Craig Demmin (No. 6 to the Tampa Bay Mutiny in 2001)
The Trinidad and Tobago international played 19 matches for the Mutiny before embarking on a career spent toiling in the lower divisions. The four picks following Demmin -- Ryan Suarez, Santino Quaranta, Brian Mullan and Duncan Oughton -- all went on to enjoy respectable MLS careers.
Of course, Tampa Bay's misfire hardly mattered since the Mutiny was contracted at the end of the 2001 season. But it's the lack of thought that counts.
RB Steve Shak (No. 1 to the MetroStars/New York Red Bulls in 2000)
Eleven years later, the first pick in SuperDraft history still stands out as one of the worst. Familiar with Shak from his youth coaching days, MetroStars boss Octavio Zambrano shockingly grabbed the onetime UCLA walk-on, who was projected as mid-round talent.
Shak appeared in 38 games for the Metros and Colorado Rapids during three MLS campaigns. From 2002 through 2009, he made a living as a journeyman in the lower levels of U.S. soccer. Overall, Shak was a fairly forgettable player aside from his ultra-bust distinction. To make New York supporters cringe, one can just point out the prospects the club passed on: Nick Garcia, Carlos Bocanegra, Danny Califf and Bobby Convey.
RM Chance Myers (No. 1 to the Kansas City Wizards/Sporting Kansas City in 2008)
The jury is still out on Myers, who has been a serviceable role player in Kansas City for the past three seasons. With the top selection comes lofty expectations, though, and Myers has certainly fallen short thus far, making just 13 starts in three years.
Physical obstacles impeding the former UCLA Bruin have ranged from mononucleosis to a deviated septum. Now a Generation Adidas graduate who counts against the salary cap, Myers will have to prove he truly deserves his roster spot. In retrospect, Kansas City must be kicking itself for taking a chance on Myers instead of Brek Shea, Sean Franklin or Patrick Nyarko.
CM Nikolas Besagno (No. 1 to Real Salt Lake in 2005)
It seems fitting Besagno was taken by a team with "Real" in its moniker because he is the king of SuperDraft busts. In a Zambrano-esque move of favoritism, Besagno's former U.S. U-17 coach John Ellinger picked the Washington state native despite the presence of talents such as Brad Guzan, Chad Barrett, Drew Moor, Hunter Freeman and Michael Parkhurst.
At 16, Besagno became the second-youngest player in league history, behind the previous year's much-ballyhooed wunderkind, Freddy Adu. Although many feel Adu has severely underachieved, he doesn't hold a candle to Besagno, who played just eight games in four years with Salt Lake. Besagno currently plays for the fourth-tier Kitsap Pumas in Washington.
CM Ciaran O'Brien (No. 5 to the Colorado Rapids in 2008)
Behold O'Brien's career MLS stat line: one game, 19 minutes, one foul, one red card. If Colorado wanted that kind of production out of the fifth overall pick, it would have been better off drafting Donald Brashear or Brock Lesnar. (The card was for a late tackle on Carlos Ruiz, who suffered a serious knee injury on the play.)
Obviously, getting sent off in one's first professional game is hardly the way to start a career. For O'Brien (pictured with the MLS Cup trophy, top), it was a bad omen that turned out to be quite appropriate, as he didn't get another second of playing time during three seasons in Colorado. The 23-year-old UC-Santa Barbara product is now a free agent after being passed over in December's re-entry draft.
LM Justin Moose (No. 7 to D.C. United in 2006)
A diminutive, high-energy winger out of Wake Forest, Moose made eight appearances in two seasons for United before being cut loose and joining Vancouver in the second division.
Patrick Ianni, Kei Kamara and Nathan Sturgis were taken off the board shortly after Moose. But the name that stands out like a sore thumb is Jozy Altidore, who went to New York with the 17th pick.
F Jerson Monteiro (No. 8 to the Chicago Fire in 2007)
Whatever the problems in Monteiro's game were, they must have been significant. Chicago gave up on him before the end of his rookie season, shipping him to D.C. By the next preseason, Monteiro had worn out his welcome in the nation's capital, as well, despite not logging a single minute for United.
Having scored one goal in five MLS games, he joined the second-tier Atlanta Silverbacks in 2008. For the record, Chicago picked Monteiro before Anthony Wallace, Brad Evans, Robbie Findley, Dane Richards and Omar Cummings. Woops.
F Chris Carrieri (No. 1 to the San Jose Earthquakes in 2001)
Like Gbandi, Carrieri produced at a decent level during his MLS stint, notching 19 goals in three seasons with the Colorado Rapids after San Jose traded him early in his rookie season. The former North Carolina Tar Heel has since spent most of his post-MLS career in his native Virginia with the Richmond Kickers.
The names of the strikers passed on in favor of Carrieri, however, are staggering. With Edson Buddle (90 career MLS goals), Brian Ching (72) and Eddie Johnson (41) available for the taking, it's safe to say San Jose's talent evaluation was a touch off that year.