Tuesdays MLS Supplemental Draft added another 4 rounds to the MLS draft process, and the Tar Heels saw one player taken to the league, that being attacking midfielder Cameron Brown. Omitted from the draft were graduating seniors Jordan Gafa, Martin Murphy, and Scott Goodwin. Contrary to most predictions, Gafa and Goodwin were left out while Brown was taken with one of the first picks in the draft.
Goodwin and Gafa’s reputations as high level performers had them marked down as certs for the supplemental draft and sleepers for the Superdraft, but it seems that the greater hyped competitors to Goodwin and Gafa’s less than standout showing at the MLS Combine have conspired to keep them out of the league for now. Cam Brown’s reputation prior to missing 2 years with an injury will have inspired confidence in league scouts, though his return to the Heels was rather underwhelming and he appears not to have returned to his former powers.
Brown’s low impact this season and his long term injury had him expected to miss out on the draft altogether. He and other graduating forward Martin Murphy, while remaining top college players, were expected to find alternate paths to the league without the draft process. This was so much the case that here at keepingitheel that we didn’t make Murphy or Brown draft analyses. Just as Mikey Lopez was a surprise pick when he was selected 14th when he was expected to go in the top ten, Gafa and Goodwin were dual surprises not being taken in the supplemental draft whereas the dark horse Cam Brown was taken as the 7th pick in the supplemental, but this is often the nature of the league.
Cam Brown’s move to a forward-light Colorado Rapids team means that he’ll be able to get his chance immediately in the league, but where will Goodwin, Gafa, and Murphy go? This is where some of the great beauty lies in the system. Just because these players are not going to MLS clubs via the draft, they can still go to the USL, a tier below the MLS, or potentially to any league in the world. From there they can impress and either gain promotion with a franchise from the USL to the MLS or through a contract offer from an MLS Club. These players’ careers are not necessarily over.
We’ve already highlighted Gafa’s technical ability and Goodwin’s cool shot-stopping prowess, but Martin has his own merits to justify a potential MLS career. Though he was displaced from the Carolina lineup by Andy Craven and Rob Lovejoy, Murphy showed some lovely finishing at the start of the season, and his scoring record put him just goal off of top scorer for the Heels this season.
Murphy’s, Goodwin’s, and Gafa’s high caliber of play will make them easy targets for lower league American clubs, and with the right circumstances and a few years’ hard work we could easily see them join Mikey Lopez and Cameron Brown in the league.