2009's New MLS Players: Where Did They Come From?
|In the 2009 season, 114 players made their competitive debuts for an MLS team. Over the past 14 years, the total number has now risen to 1,369. There's a possibility we could see the 1,500th player next year. The 1,000th player was Houston's Paul Dalglish in late 2006.|
So where did all of these players come from? I've posted the breakdown below. But first, the number of debuts by year and the number per team in 2009:
Debuts By Year
There was one more team in 2009, but fewer debuts. Fewer coaching changes might have something to do with that, but the biggest factor was probably the reduced roster sizes.
2009 Debuts By Team
Seattle's total of 14 is right in line with recent expansion teams, with the exception of San Jose:
Let's see exactly where these new players came from, started with those drafted. The team listed is the one that gave the player his first minutes, not necessarily the one that first acquired him.
2009 Superdraft (29)
14 first rounders, 5 second rounders, 6 third rounders, and 4 fourth rounders saw action. Last year, the breakdown was 12-8-8-8. MLS went from 36 Superdraft players seeing action to 29, though those who did certainly made a bigger impression.
Colleges represented with multiple players are Maryland (5), Wake Forest (3), Michigan (2), Saint Louis (2), and Washington (2).
2007 Supplemental Draft (1)
The only player to come directly from a previous draft and make a debut in 2009 was Real Salt Lake's third string goalkeeper.
Domestic-Based Signings (23)
This is mostly players who were signed from a club in a lower American league, including the foreign teams in those leagues, like Ribeiro from the Montreal Impact. It also includes undrafted rookies like Dykstra and Marshall. I was going to count them as a separate category, but it's tricky with players like Chijindu, who sat out a year before signing.
Academy Signings (1)
Mayen and Zamora were from Chivas USA's youth teams, shouldn't they count here? I don't believe so. Mayen was signed in 2008 before Bowen, who was called the first academy signing when he signed with the Galaxy later in the year. Zamora is slightly harder to classify. I don't remember reading anything special about his signing, so I didn't think he belonged here. Now for a much larger explanation:
Zamora also comes from the youth teams, but he was signed to a developmental contract and it says nothing about Generation Adidas there. All academy signings get signed to GA contracts, right? Well, apparently not any more. The signings of Bill Hamid and Giorgi Chirgadze by DC and NY came with the note that:
"In July 2009, the MLS Board of Governors approved an amendment to the rules governing the signing of youth academy players. MLS clubs will receive two additional roster slots that may be used to sign academy players, in accordance with current Home Grown Player rules, to Generation adidas or Developmental contracts during the 2009 season."So just having a developmental contract only doesn't mean that he couldn't be an official academy signing. However, it says that was changed in July, and Zamora was signed in May. That should be case closed, then. Except for the fact that academy players "...may not play in League games during the 2009 season, but can participate in training, exhibition games and CONCACAF Champions League games." Zamora only played one game, and it was in the Superliga. Could that mean he actually was considered an academy signing after all?
No, because the original press release says clearly: "Currently out with a left hamstring injury, Zamora has been added to Chivas USA's Disabled List and is not immediately eligible for MLS play." That must mean he if he was healthy, he would've been eligible.
That was a whole lot of text for something so minor...
Foreign-Based Signings (57)
Includes loan deals, and also American players coming back from other countries. Nyassi counts as a foreign signing even though he played for the USL Sounders in 2008. That's because he was signed by the MLS version first and then loaned out.
Weighted Lottery (2)
Did you remember that these players came into the league via lotteries? I barely did. Interesting fact: Real Salt Lake won the Davies lottery, then traded him to Dallas for a draft pick. RSL then ended up using that same draft pick as part of the trade to acquire Campos from San Jose.
Both could also be categorized as foreign signings, but I prefer to do it this way.
Emergency Loan (1)
The smaller rosters meant that third string goalkeepers were a luxury that few teams decided to keep in 2009. Dragavon played the one game when Keller was sent off against KC. You might be thinking Dufty belongs here for New York, but he doesn't. He was actually a member of the Red Bulls while he played his one game. He was waived and only then did he sign as a pool keeper.