PDL News Release
Thursday, January 16, 2014
TAMPA, Fla. – Former standouts of the PDL, led by top-five selections Steven Birnbaum, Steven Neumann and Eric Miller, learned their new clubs on Thursday as MLS held the 2014 SuperDraft. Held in conjunction with the NSCAA Convention in Philadelphia, the SuperDraft saw six former PDL players selected in the top 10, and 25 former PDL and Super-20 League alumni selected overall.
The 2014 MLS SuperDraft continued the remarkable success of the PDL in helping the development of potential future professionals. In the past five seasons, 162 of the 232 players selected in the SuperDraft have played in the PDL, a remarkable 70 percent of selections. The past three MLS Rookie of the Year honorees have also been PDL alumni, with the Austin Aztex’s Dillon Powers claiming the award in 2013 for the Colorado Rapids to follow Reading United’s C.J. Sapong (Sporting Kansas City) in 2011 and the Chicago Fire U-23’s Austin Berry (Chicago Fire) in 2012.
Birnbaum was selected with the No. 2 pick by D.C. United after competing for Orange County Blue Star in the PDL in both 2010 and 2011. Neumann, the captain of Reading United AC in 2013, was then selected with the No. 4 pick by the New England Revolution, and Miller went next, with the former Portland Timbers U-23s standout being taken by the Montreal Impact.
Neumann led a contingent of five former Reading players selected, with 2013 PDL All-League defender Damion Lowe the next to be taken with the No. 8 pick by the Seattle Sounders FC. Defender Ben Sweat was also selected in the first round, being taken by the Columbus Crew with the No. 14 pick, and he was joined on selected later by Pedro Ribeiro, who was selected by United’s MLS affiliate the Philadelphia Union. The Sounders then returned to take center back Jimmy Ockford with the second pick of the second round. Reading has now had 10 players selected overall in the past two SuperDrafts.
Other PDL alumni selected in the top 10 included former Real Colorado Foxes forward Tesho Akindele, who was taken with the No. 6 selection by FC Dallas, and Ventura County Fusion midfielder JJ Koval, who went to the San Jose Earthquakes with the No. 9 pick.
Lowe was not the only former PDL honoree to be selected, with 2012 Defender of the Year Kevin Cope of the Michigan Bucks being taken with the 25th pick overall by the Philadelphia Union. 2012 All-League forward Mark Sherrod was selected by the Houston Dynamo with the No. 32 pick.
PDL alumni who were also selected in the first round included former New Orleans Jesters forward Patrick Mullins, who joined Neumann in New England after being taken with the 11th pick. Former OC Blues Strikers defender Marco Franco went to the Chicago Fire with the 13th selection, and former Michigan Bucks and K-W United FC Generation adidas pick A.J. Cochran was taken with the No. 16 selection by Houston.
The SuperDraft selections added to the MLS Homegrown Players signed in the new year that will join the professional ranks this spring, with PDL alumni Harrison Shipp and Chris Ritter signing with the Chicago Fire, Sean Okoli and Aaron Kovar with the Seattle Sounders FC, Matt Walker (Michigan Bucks) with the Columbus Crew, and Bryan Gallego with the Portland Timbers.