The MLS Superdraft, brought to you by the USL

Though many articles will be written about the Philadelphia Union, the 2009 MLS Superdraft, and the players fortunate enough to be selected in one of the draft’s 4 rounds, few people will include this stunning fact:

Of the 64 players selected on Thursday, 48 of them have played in a league run by the USL. What’s more, of the first 16 players chosen in the draft, 12 have played in the USL’s Super Y or Premier Development League. That’s 75 percent of players in both statistics.

The oft-maligned player development system in the United States is unquestionably flawed with its many leagues, designations, and provincialism. However, imagine what the state of the American game would be like, if there weren’t a multitude of leagues and clubs out there developing these players to the point they have.

Many people got tied up in the USL/NASL power struggle over second division soccer but needed to look only a little lower on the pyramid to find USL’s real strength and perhaps real purpose. The USL’s Premier Development League offers most college and amatuer players a place to hone their skills and continue their development in the off-season. While many would argue that the style and rules of college soccer destroy the development process of promising professionals, don’t blame the USL or PDL for trying to make the situation better. Though it may not be perfect, the growth of the USL’s Premier Development League has a large role to play in the continued success of professional soccer in America.

The USL has posted a list of drafted players with PDL experience. Check it out here.


  1. Just so you know, PDL has been pumping out the majority of MLS’s superdraft picks for at least 6-8 years.

    I mean its important to recognize it, and we all hope that in the future the Union’s PDL association, the Reading Rage, produce tons of players for the senior team. But this isn’t really breaking news.

  2. That’s a fair point, but I think the intent of the post is to note that this is easily overlooked when you consider that most of the attention USL has gotten lately has been for the USL-NASL power struggle and the near-collapse of USL’s top division.

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