The MLS Re-Entry draft concluded on Monday, December 12th. Columbus decided to pass with their pick. Jeff Cunningham and Kevin Burns, both on the Crew’s roster last year, were available. However, neither was picked up by a team.
The LA Galaxy selected six players during the second stage of the draft on Monday. Former Columbus legend Frankie Hejduk was re-selected by LA at the very end after every team had passed.
Columbus lost defender Josh Gardner during the Expansion Draft on November 23rd to the Montreal Impact, but they were able t0 pick up veteran defender Carlos Mendes from the New York Red Bulls during the first stage of the Re-Entry Draft on December 5th. I would say this is a pretty good trade-off, considering the fact that Mendes can fill in anywhere across the back four.
On to the next draft! The 2012 MLS SuperDraft will be held on January 12th. This draft is mainly used to select players from the college level who are hoping to make it in MLS.
However, before this draft even happens, teams are able to sign players to homegrown contracts. According to MLS, this is the definition of a homegrown player:
A club may sign a player to his first professional contract without subjecting him to the MLS SuperDraft if the player has trained for at least one year in the club’s youth development program and has met league criteria. Players joining MLS through this mechanism are known as homegrown players. There is no limit to the number of homegrown players a club may sign in a given year.
A prime candidate to sign a homegrown contract for the Crew is junior midfielder Ben Speas from the University of North Carolina. UNC defeated Charlotte in the NCAA Division One Championship game on Sunday, 1-0. Speas scored the game winning goal for the Tar Heels, earning him the MVP honors for the tournament. He also was the MVP of the ACC Tournament, scoring two goals in the championship game as he helped North Carolina beat Boston College, 3-1. Speas transferred from Akron this past summer, where he also won a NCAA Championship in 2010.
In other Crew news, forward and last year’s leading scorer Andres Mendoza has joined Atlante FC in Mexico after Columbus decided to not pick up his contract at the end of the year. However, the press release didn’t reveal if he took his pacifier with him.
Crew midfielder Dilly Duka has been in the Netherlands the past couple of weeks training with the Generation Adidas team. The New Jersey native has scored two free kick goals while playing against the Ajax Reserves and FC Volendam, making sure everyone in Holland knows how to fist pump.