Thursday, December 10, 2009

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

1996 241
1997 80
1998 93
1999 62
2000 75
2001 63
2002 54
2003 68
2004 63
2005 120
2006 87
2007 113

Total 1,369

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

CHV 10
DC 10
KC 5
LA 8
NE 7
NY 9
SJ 7

Seattle's total of 14 is right in line with recent expansion teams, with the exception of San Jose:

14-CHV 2005
17-RSL 2005
20-TOR 2007
8-SJ 2008
14-SEA 2009

Talent Breakdown

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)

CHI Husidic, Baggio
CHV Lahoud, Michael
CLB Grendi, Alex
COL Holody, Michael
COL Schunk, Ross
DAL John, George
DAL Marosevic, Peri
DC Barklage, Brandon
DC Kocic, Milos
DC Pontius, Chris
DC Wallace, Rodney
HOU Cruz, Danny
KC Besler, Matt
KC Zusi, Graham
LA DeLaGarza, A.J.
LA Gonzalez, Omar
LA Patterson, Kyle
NE Alston, Kevin
NE Barnes, Darrius
NY Hall, Jeremy
NY Zimmerman, Nick
RSL Alexandre, Jean
RSL Cox, Raphael
SEA Brown, Evan
SEA Zakuani, Steve
SJ Amarikwa, Quincy
TOR Cronin, Sam
TOR Frei, Stefan
TOR White, O'Brian

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)

RSL Reynish, Kyle

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)

CHI Dimitrov, Stefan
CHI Dykstra, Andrew
CHV Chijindu, Chukwudi
CHV Mayen, Gerson
CHV Zamora, Cesar
CLB Brunner, Eric
CLB Burns, Kevin
CLB Nyazamba, Stanley
CLB Schoeni, Kenny
COL Palguta, Scott
DC Peters, Anthony
DC Shipalane, Tiyi
KC Pardo, Boris
LA Marshall, Yohance
NE Knighton, Brad
NY Dufty, Alec
SEA Alonso, Osvaldo
SEA Eylander, Chris
SEA Forrest, Kevin
SEA Le Toux, Sebastien
SEA Scott, Zach
SJ Ribeiro, Antonio
SJ Weber, Andrew

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)

LA Bowen, Tristan

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)

CHV Cuesta, Yamith
CHV Lillingston, Eduardo
CHV Padilla, Jesus
CHV Santos, Maicon
CHV Stepanovic, Bojan
CHV Trujillo, Mariano
CLB Renteria, Emilio
COL Baudet, Julien
COL Diz, Facundo
COL Richardson, Gregory
COL Smith, Jamie
DAL Benitez, Jair
DAL Chavez, Marvin
DAL Ferreira, David
DAL Pearce, Heath
DAL Purdy, Steve
DAL Sanchez, Alvaro
DC Habarugira, David
DC Jacobson, Andrew
DC Jakovic, Dejan
DC N'Silu, Ange
HOU Akinbiyi, Ade
HOU Hainault, Andrew
HOU Hall, Tally
HOU Landin, Luis Angel
KC Hercegfalvi, Zoltan
KC Hirsig, Santiago
LA Berhalter, Gregg
LA Birchall, Chris
LA Ricketts, Donovan
NE Assengue, Stephane
NE Jankauskas, Edgaras
NE Osei, Emmanuel
NE Videira, Michael
NY Celades, Albert
NY Garcia, Walter
NY Johnson, Carlos
NY Krupnik, Leo
NY Obster, Ernst
NY Pacheco, Alfredo
RSL El Khalifi, Rachid
RSL Escalada, Luis Miguel
SEA Gonzalez, Leo
SEA Hurtado, Jhon Kennedy
SEA Keller, Kasey
SEA Ljungberg, Freddie
SEA Montero, Fredy
SEA Nyassi, Sanna
SJ Luiz, Andre
SJ Sanchez, Ramon
SJ Weaver, Cam
TOR de Guzman, Julian
TOR Fellinga, Lesly
TOR Gerba, Ali
TOR Gomez, Emmanuel
TOR Sanyang, Amadou
TOR Vitti, Pablo

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)

DAL Davies, Kyle
SJ Campos, Pablo

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)

SEA Dragavon, Ben

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.

Further Reading

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Comments on "2009's New MLS Players: Where Did They Come From?"


Anonymous Sancho said ... (6:00 AM, December 14, 2009) : 


I love to read about US Soccer in your blog, but it would be better for the reader if you manage to put a "more" link after the first paragraph of each post, instead of the whole post in the main page.

Best regards,


Blogger scaryice said ... (6:39 AM, December 15, 2009) : 

It was actually never an option to do that on Blogger until recently. I'll think about it.


Anonymous price per head services said ... (4:48 PM, January 26, 2013) : 

It is quite impressive number to have that much player in their debuts. Even though isn't the biggest amount that it had.


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