MLS draft could have local flavor

January 17, 2008|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun reporter

At least three area soccer players are among those eagerly awaiting tomorrow's Major League Soccer SuperDraft at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Towson University midfielder Pat Healey and goalkeeper Billy Chiles, and University of Maryland midfielder Stephen King could go in the four-round draft.

The annual amateur draft, which begins at 2 p.m., is open to the public and will feature 14 teams selecting a total of 56 players. The Kansas City Wizards will draft first after making a trade with the expansion San Jose Earthquakes and will be followed by FC Dallas. D.C. United does not pick until the second round, 24th overall.

According to SoccerAmerica.com, fans should look for goalkeeper Brian Edwards (Wake Forest), defender Julius James (Connecticut), midfielder Brek Shea (U.S. under-17 team), and forwards George Josten (Gonzaga) and Alex Nimo (U.S. Soccer Under-17 Residency Program) to be of early interest in this draft.

But there is some speculation that Xavier Balc (Ohio State) and Patrick Nyarko (Virginia Tech) could be the first forwards taken because as Generation Adidas players - players who left school before their NCAA eligibility was up to sign MLS contracts - their salaries would not count against a team's salary cap.

Chiles, who plays for the U.S. under-23 national team, was named an All-American. He led the Colonial Athletic Association with 110 saves in 21 games for a 5.24 average. He also had nine shutouts.

Healey, the son of Blast general manager Kevin Healey, was the CAA Player of the Year and led the conference in scoring with 25 points last season, eight goals and nine assists.

King, coming from one of the best soccer programs in the country, is viewed by by coach Sasho Cirovski as "probably one of the most under-appreciated players in the country." He has started every game for the Terps since his freshman year.

The draft is run in coordination with the annual National Soccer Coaches Association of America convention, which is under way here through Sunday. The NSCAA is led by president Steve Malone of Glen Burnie, who led his Andover High School team to the Maryland boys state title in 1989.

sandra.mckee@baltsun.com

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