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Houston Dynamo building reliably through MLS draft

Sep 24, 2013, 10:35 PM EDT

2012 MLS Cup - Houston Dynamo Training Session Getty Images

Homegrown signees are all the rage in MLS now, what every clubs wants to trumpet, and the amount of talent developed through clubs’ academy systems will only rise going forward.

But something else deserves mention now that Houston appears to have some summer issues sorted out, seemingly pointed in the right direction at the right time of year: under manager Dominic Kinnear, the organization has reliably cultivated starting talent through Major League Soccer’s annual SuperDraft.

Now that Warren Creavalle seems set as Ricardo Clark central midfield partner (Adam Moffat’s trade to Seattle was a pretty loud announcement that Kinnear’s staff thought Creavalle was ready), the Dynamo has four starters that were drafted by the team, molded by the team and then assigned into prominent roles.

That may not sound like much; other teams can and have developed reliably through the draft – but perhaps not as much as you might think. And not for as long as Houston has done so.

Corey Ashe, Will Bruin and Kofi Sarkodie are other current Houston starters who were plucked by the Dynamo in MLS drafts past.

(There are plenty of MLS clubs with several draftees starting or playing key roles, although not always for the club that selected them; MLS is fairly transient that way. Houston starters Tally Hall, Ricardo Clark and Brad Davis, for instance, were all MLS draftees elsewhere who eventually made their way to Houston.)

Don’t forget, U.S. international Geoff Cameron, now with the Premier League’s Stoke City, was the 42nd overall selection (3rd round) in 2008 for Houston. Not a bad pick at all, eh?

What’s more, in some of these years the Dynamo had precious few draft picks to work with, having traded them away previously. There are plenty of player acquisition mechanisms in MLS, from trades, to homegrown development, to discoveries and transfers. But smart drafting still works – just ask some of the familiar faces around BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.

  1. geojock - Sep 25, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Funny that Dynamo used to not value draft picks at all. I think there success is credit to a good scouting eye by the coaches, but also bringing the players along slowly and puting them in good positions. I also think the opportunity to play in meaningful games like CCL really helps advance these guys quickly.

    Guys like Creavalle are the real story. I would expect teams to hit on many of their 1st round (especially top 10) picks. A later rounder like Creavalle is where you get the real value.

    • Steve Davis - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      That’s exactly right. In some ways, you would expect Houston to be the last team to benefit from drafts … and yet they make it work.

      • geojock - Sep 25, 2013 at 4:01 PM

        They really need to get their academy working. As a ‘have not’ team, academy and draft to a lessor extent are an absolute necessity.

  2. hildezero - Sep 25, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    I don’t blame Houston for this. Young soccer players in USA are getting better and better every year. If I were a coach, I would rather play drafted players instead of homegrown players from academies.

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