The MLS SuperDraft, hyperbolic name and all, was formed out of the gnarled latticework of the College Draft and the Supplemental Draft in 2000. At the time, with no Development Academy, a virtually nonexistent lower tier and a network of feeder clubs more scattered than ever, there was a sort of kingly dignity afforded to the draft.
It may have only thrown up pale shadows on the developmental wall, but like Plato’s interlocutor in a darkened cave, if those shadows are all you see, who’s to say the real thing projecting them from behind your back even exists? The shadows are real because they are what you see.
Even still, the draft made sense in 2000, and 2005, and maybe even 2007 and 2008. Until 2009 there was no such word as Homegrown in MLS, and until two years earlier MLS clubs didn’t even have direct academies. We take those facts for granted now – that FC Dallas churns out U.S. youth national team players like Coors turns out light beer – but it was not so long ago that these were ideas twisting in wind.
The new CBA introduced the inkling of free agency, and future CBAs will expand on it, surely if slowly. To lean on Nolan’s Inception, once an idea is implanted (read: implemented) it is almost impossible to eradicate. And I would go a step further and remove almost from the equation entirely. On the ground level, closed society trends toward freedom.
Whether they are allowed it by those in power is one matter, but the germ grows in strength exponentially once the idea is introduced.