The start to the 2017 MLS Season is inching closer and closer. Right before the start of the MLS Pre-season, we have the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. Only players competing in the NCAA are eligible for selection. This year, the New York Red Bulls will be selecting 17th in round one, followed by pick 39 in the second round of the draft and ending with the 61st pick in round three.
This draft will have a little more importance than in past years. It’s hard to doubt that the Red Bulls have one of the deepest teams in all of MLS and they will need it this year. Past having several players coming off of injury, the Red Bulls will be competing in four competitions this calendar year. Outside of MLS play, they will partake in: 2016-2017 CONCACAF Champions League Knockout Stage, U.S Open Cup, and the group stage of the 2017-2018 CCL.
The fact is, it is not unlikely that these three draftees could see time on the senior squad. The Red Bulls have shown over the past two seasons that they are one of the best in MLS at developing young talent quickly. Here are just a few names: Matt Miazga, Sean Davis, Alex Muyl, Derrick Etienne Jr., Aaron Long, and Justin Bilyeu all saw valuable productive minutes. Whether it was in MLS play or in CONCACAF Champions’ League, they all contributed solid productive minutes. With the Red Bulls needing as many bodies as they can this season, these picks could see time on the Senior Squad sooner rather then later.
New York Red Bulls 2017 SuperDraft Preview
College: Monmouth University
With their first pick, a few mock drafts have the Red Bulls going with a goalkeeper. Eric Klenofsky, a native of Staten Island, NY, could be the route the Red Bulls take. At a height of 6’6″ and weighing 170 pounds, Klenofsky is no stranger to the Red Bulls organization. In 2016, he appeared for the Red Bulls in the USL Premier Development League. Recording a shade under 500 minutes, Klenofsky held a 1.45 Goals Against Average and a save percentage of .667. With Luis Robles not getting any younger, as well as Ryan Meara not seeing MLS action since 2012, Klenofsky could very well be the goalie of the future for the New York Red Bulls.
- 2013: 13 appearances, GAA: 0.22, SV% .914, nine clean sheets
- 2014: 21 appearances, GAA: 0.48, SV% .880, 12 clean sheets
- 2015: 21 appearances, GAA: 1.00, SV% .784, seven clean sheets
- 2016: 11 appearences, GAA: 0.87, SV% .841, four clean sheets
College: University of North Carolina
Depending how the draft goes, the Red Bulls could end up going defensive with their first pick. A defensive pick for the Red Bulls wouldn’t be the worst move as last year injuries plagued the Red Bulls back line. The Red Bulls defensive core took another major hit this off-season with Chris Duvall being selected away in the Expansion Draft. Storm, at 5’10” and weighting 166 pounds, has the ability to play both outside back positions and can contribute offensively.
- 2013: 13 appearances, nine starts, and one assist
- 2014: 15 appearances, nine starts, and one assist
- 2015: 20 appearances, 20 starts, two goals, and three assists
- 2016: 21 appearances, 21 starts, three assists
College: Southern Illinois-Edwardsville
Another mock draft has the New York Red Bulls going to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville well for a second straight season. Austin Ledbetter could be following in the footsteps of his former teammate and current Red Bulls defender Justin Bilyeu. At 5’11” and weighing 160, Ledbetter is another defensive player who can bring a strong offensive presence. That’s something last year’s outside defensive backs really lacked.
- 2013: 19 appearances, 19 starts, no goals, and no assists
- 2014: 20 appearances, 19 starts, no goals, and one assist
- 2015: 18 appearences, 18 starts, no goals, and no assists
- 2016: 22 apperances, 22 starts, six goals, and one assist.