There’s a startling lack of top wide options in this year’s crop of midfielders.
That is partially down to the ebb and flow of draft classes, as this year’s group is strong down the spine: lots of center backs, center midfielders and a decent crop of forward options. Most of the top wide players will likely come from the forward ranks, with a player like Patrick Mullins likely to get a look on the wing.
The below list offers a scouting report of the top 15 midfielders from the college ranks as rated off of the TopDrawerSoccer.com Big Board. As usual, there’s a plethora of holding and central midfielder types that are looking to make the jump into MLS.
1. Pedro Ribeiro, Coastal Carolina
Weight: 208 lbs
Career stats: 86 games, 6,912 minutes, 31 goals, 26 assists
Hurt somewhat by his status as an international -- Ribeiro is a Brazilian native who hails from Belo Horizonte -- the Coastal Carolina midfield man is an intriguing prospect nonetheless. He has a frame that makes him standout on the field, but he couples that with grace and elegance on the ball. A left-footed midfielder who can slot in at a number of positions, he’s a surefire first round pick who can compete for minutes in 2014.
2. JJ Koval, Stanford
Weight: 175 lbs
Career stats: 72 games, 6 goals, 4 assists
Koval is everything that an MLS team wants out of a draft pick - a player who can assimilate to a playing style as well as work hard to earn minutes. At Stanford, Koval showed qualities that led many to believe he would contribute quickly to most MLS teams. He does struggle a bit with distribution and speed of play, but that should improve over time.
3. *Marlon Hairston, Louisville
Weight: 157 lbs
Career stats: 39 games, 6 goals, 5 assists
The lone Generation adidas piece for this position is a work in progress. Hairston could have used another year under Ken Lolla’s delicate guidance, but he decided to leave the Cardinals early and finds himself as a treasured piece in this draft. He has the technical ability to make the mark in MLS, but he needs to be placed in the right system to properly use his tools against the professionals.