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Only in the MLS

Here at Soccer Tickets Online we are happy to welcome two new contributors to the site: Randall Hall and Jason Green. You will be seeing more from them over the coming days. This is Randall’s first post on the MLS SuperDraft this past week.

Unlike in America ’s other premiere professional sports leagues, in the MLS a seventeen year old kid from Texas can go from near anonymity to being the second-overall draft selection in less than two weeks. Just ask Brek Shea, who accomplished this feat last Friday when he was surprisingly selected second overall in the MLS SuperDraft by FC Dallas after dominating his fellow invitees at the MLS combine the week earlier.

Shea, already towering around 6’3”, proved that he has no reason to regret his decision to skip college for the MLS when he showed skill beyond his years at the combine. Shea is a member of the 2008 Generation Adidas class, as were five of the other top eight picks in the draft. In fact, despite dominating at the midfield position during the combine, Shea was not even the first member of Generation Adidas taken in the draft as Chance Myers was selected first overall by the Wizards.

The selection of Myers with the first pick surprised many observers who had expected either Patrick Nyarko of Virginia Tech or Andy Iro of UC Santa Barbara to be selected first overall. Nyarko, who arrived at the combine out of shape, fell to the Chicago Fire with the seventh overall selection. Meanwhile, Iro, the highly touted 6’5” product originally out of England , fell to sixth where he was chosen by the Columbus Crew.

The Galaxy made perhaps the boldest moves of any team during draft week. Alexi Lalas’ decided to acquire veteran striker Carlos Ruiz and trade defender Chris Albright and his large (by MLS standards) contract. Clearly, Lalas is more interested in the Galaxy putting the ball in the back of the other team’s net than he is keeping it out of their own. As Lalas’ moves will likely result in the Galaxy scoring (and allowing) more goals, the casual, bandwagon fans who have come to see David Beckham will be happy, but Galaxy fans who want to see the club return to its past form will not. Perhaps Lalas failed to consider that the Galaxy gave up the second-most goals in the league last year before he sent his one of best defenders to the Revs.

Finally, Jeremy Barlow, a five foot seven inch midfielder from the University of Virginia , became the draft’s “Mr. Irrelevant” when he was selected with the last pick by the Houston Dynamos. Barlow, whose MySpace page reveals he enjoys trashy novels, CSI and “beer in moderation”, will need to exhibit both passion and skill if he hopes to make the team though. Historically, Mr. Irrelevants like Barlow, whose brother Neil played with him at Virginia , have not made much of an impact for their teams in any major sport. However, Barlow believes he has the skill to succeed in the MLS and after the draft asserted that he would do whatever he could to help his new club, but that he “really didn’t know what to expect.” As the 2008 MLS SuperDraft proved, with the MLS , one never does.