MLS SuperDraft: Four Vaughan SC Players Selected in First Round
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Sunday, January 12, 2020
The MLS SuperDraft took place this past week and there was great news for local developmental programs, specifically Vaughan Soccer Club, who had four players from their developmental program and League1 roster drafted in the first round; Ryan Raposo, Alistair Johnston, Nyal Higgins, and Dayonn Harris.
Ryan Raposo was the most notable draft pick as he went fourth overall to the Vancouver Whitecaps. Raposo, from Hamilton, Ontario, had such an impressive showing at Syracuse University, where he impressed with his goal scoring and playmaking abilities primarily as an attacking midfielder. The Whitecaps have a Canadian midfielder who they can either add to the lineup immediately or who they could loan out to the CPL, likely Forge FC or Pacific, where he could continue to develop and play meaningful minutes the starting-XI.
It would not be long for the second Vaughan SC player to be selected as MLS expansion franchise Nashville SC selected defender Alistair Johnston 11th overall. Johnston can be a great asset for Nashville in that his style of play provides the coaching staff more flexibility with their tactics because his versatility on the backline makes him a great fit for a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 as he has proven that he could be effective as a right-back and when needed, can adapt and shift to centre-back successfully.
Toronto FC selected defender Nyal Higgins 19th overall, also from Syracuse University. This was an excellent choice for Toronto as the backline is a position that will need some more depth at heading into the 2020 season and Higgins being a strong central defender and reliable in important moments does check all the boxes.
Dayonn Harris was the final Vaughan SC player selected in the first round, when Real Salt Lake selected him 20th overall. Harris has been praised for his speed and playmaking ability and will add another attacking option on the wing.
York U Lions Master coach Carmine Isacco, who also plays a key role on the technical side of things for the Vaughan Soccer Club, joined Joe Peisich and I on ‘MLS Kickin’ It’ this past Thursday, where he discussed the significance of four players from a local Ontario club being selected so high in the MLS SuperDraft:
“It’s a great accomplishment for them as individuals and I think it’s a statement on the way we do things at our club.”
With the increase of semi-professional and professional outlets for young Canadian soccer players to establish themselves, it’ll be interesting to see if this is a small sample of what’s to come.
Photo Credit: MLS (MLSsoccer.com)