SuperDraft DL

FRISCO, Texas – The 2022 MLS SuperDraft is almost upon us and – for the third year in a row – the event will be held virtually. The draft begins at 2PM CT on Tuesday, Jan. 11 and the first round will be streamed on FCDallas.com/SuperDraft. You can also keep up with the draft on Twitter using the hashtag #SuperDraft.

Here are some things to keep in mind before FC Dallas makes its picks this Tuesday.

FC Dallas' Draft Positions

This year, Dallas owns two picks in the First Round (3rd and 6th overall), one pick in the Second Round (34th overall) and two picks in the Third Round (62nd and 66th overall). FCD also has an 87th overall compensatory pick in the Fourth Round (the draft was shortened to three rounds this year but teams that had made previous trades for fourth round picks get to make an extra pick after the third round).

FC Dallas acquired its 3rd overall pick via a trade with Toronto that saw Dallas send $50,000 of General Allocation Money (GAM) to Toronto in return for the 3rd pick as well as forward Dom Dwyer. Dallas immediately waived Dwyer by exercising a buyout of his guaranteed contract (clubs can do this once per offseason). FC Dallas also has a second third-round pick from a previous trade that sent the MLS rights of 2020 FCD draft pick Cal Jennings to Los Angeles FC. Dallas' compensatory pick came via a trade with Minnesota United for Callum Montgomery's rights).

General Draft Strategies

In most drafts – regardless of the sport or league – there’s draft theme: Should you draft for your roster’s specific needs or draft based on the highest value pick left on the board?

Marco Ferruzzi, FCD's Director of Methodology who's highly involved in Dallas' draft process, explains: “We’ve done it both ways, I would say. I think when we’ve done it the best, we go for best quality. When you draft for a position, it’ll sometimes lead you astray from your better instincts. If you get fixed on a position, you might be passing up someone who actually has more projection and your instincts tell you is going to make it. So, we try to inform ourselves about who is the top player that has the best projection to make it. The bonus is that they fit into our system, our culture and into our playing style. If they happen to match a position of need, even better.”

FC Dallas head coach Nico Estévez echoes that draft philosophy: "It depends. Sometimes you have very clear (positional) needs and you go for that. Other times you just go for the best available player in that moment. In the draft, you can have a general idea about what you want, but sometimes the draft moves in a different way and you have to be prepared and ready to make a different decision to adjust and adapt. I think that's what we're doing over these next few days, preparing ourselves to make the right decision in that moment and be able to adapt if we need to."

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Marco Ferruzzi alongside 2013 SuperDraft pick Ryan Hollingshead

North Texas SC's Draft Impact

The addition of North Texas SC in 2019 has also affected Dallas' draft strategy and how their picks develop. After being selected in the first round of the 2020 SuperDraft by FCD, defender Nkosi Tafari spent his rookie season playing exclusively for North Texas SC in USL League One. In 2021, with a year of development in USL League One under his belt, Tafari was able to break into FCD's starting lineup and featured in 22 games. His strong performances even earned him a new three-year contract. Essentially, Dallas doesn't always expect its draft picks to make an immediate impact on the first team and uses North Texas to ease the transition to MLS.

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Former Draft Picks

FC Dallas has five former SuperDraft picks on its roster for 2022: Matt Hedges (2012), Ryan Hollingshead (2013), Ema Twumasi (2018), Nkosi Tafari (2020) and Nicky Hernandez (2021). Considering four of the five (Hernandez excluded) are defenders, it's clear Dallas has had more luck when drafting players on the defensive end. Twumasi, who mainly played on the attacking side in college, was successfully converted to fullback and was Dallas' first-choice right back for much of 2021. But, like Ferruzzi explained above, the club prefers to draft based on the value and upside of the individual players rather than specific position.