clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Heavy Cal flavor at the top of the 2014 MLS Super Draft: Steve Birnbaum picked 2nd by DC United, Christian Dean picked 3rd by Vancouver Whitecaps

Coming off a great season, Cal Men's Soccer is well represented at the beginning of the 2014 MLS Super Draft with the 2nd (Steve Birnbaum to DC United) and 3rd (Christian Dean to Vancouver Whitecaps FC) overall picks. Ryan Neil made it a trio of Bears in the first round when he goes 18th to Real Salt Lake. GO BEARS!

Mr. Birnbaum is going to Washington (DC).
Mr. Birnbaum is going to Washington (DC).
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Started at 9 AM PT on ESPNNews (and also WatchESPN, which means that you can watch replay on that), it is the 2014 MLS Super Draft.

You can follow the Draft picks online here.

Coming off the best season in program history (first time ranked #1 in the country and a bunch of home matches in the NCAA tournament) and a tie for program best finish by advancing to the Elite Eight, many of the Cal players are reaping the rewards by being high picks in the 2014 MLS Super Draft.

Leading scorer and the clear MVP of the stellar Cal Men's Soccer season, defender Steve Birnbaum has been selected 2nd overall by the D.C. United (after they traded down from the 1st pick on draft day). Birnbaum also earned the MVP honor at the MLS Combine. Deadly off set pieces due to his size, Birnbaum is widely considered the most ready player of this year's draft. Birnbaum becomes the highest Bears drafted in a MLS Super Draft, after A.J. Soares was picked 6th by the New England Revolution back in 2011.

Following Birnbaum, fellow Cal defender Christian Dean was selected 3rd overall by the Vancouver Whitecaps.

UPDATE 1: Now listed as a defender, Ryan Neil is selected 18th overall by Real Salt Lake, given the Bears 3 first round pick in this year's MLS Super Draft.

UPDATE 2: In the 2nd round, 31st overall, the third Cal senior Alec Sundly joined his fellow Cal seniors and Christian Dean in joining the MLS when he was selected by New England Revolution. Apparently Sundly had high blood pressure at the combine and was not allowed to play. His health later checked out fine, but his stock had supposedly dropped until being picked here.

Congrats to Birnbaum, Dean, and Neil. Best of luck to them in the next level.

On the final mock draft on the official MLS soccer site, Cal players were actually projected to go top overall.

Here are the relevant Cal excerpts:

On Birnbaum:

From Matthew Doyle (projecting 1st overall to DC United):

Wasn't great at the Combine, but few were. And now that D.C. have stocked up on central defenders, he doesn't fill a need, either. But he's still the most MLS-ready field player in this thing, and United need as many guys able to step on the field and give good minutes as possible.

From Nate Sulat (projecting 1st overall to DC United):

He's the most MLS-ready field player available in the SuperDraft. Period. No chance D.C. will pass on him.

From Simon Borg (projecting 2nd overall to Philadelphia Union):

Now with the unproven Ethan White and converted midfielder Amobi Okugo in central defense (pending the return or not of Carlos Valdés), the Union need a sure thing back there and they get it in Birnbaum.

On Dean:

From Matthew Doyle (projecting 2nd overall to Philadelphia):

Lots of smoke screens coming out of Philly, and the feeling is that they'll move this pick if the right offer comes. That said, Dean is a high-ceiling, athletic, left-footed defender, and those don't come around every year. Even though he struggled, he's the pick here.

From Nate Sulat (projecting 2nd overall to Philadelphia):

Didn't have a great performance at the Combine, but he has the tools to become a star in MLS. Let's just say for the moment that the Union are willing to wait on him to get there.

From Simon Borg (projecting 1st overall to DC United):

The acquisition of Jeff Parke still means that D.C. have three right-sided center backs (including Boswell and Attakora. They grab the left-footed Dean, who made it clear with his play during the Combine that he'll be a central defender in MLS.

On Neil:

From Matthew Doyle (projecting 23rd overall to LA Galaxy):

Constantly got past his defender wide right in the midfield, taking north-south touches and stretching the field both vertically and horizontally. He's a pure wide player, in other words, and since the Galaxy just traded away one of those, it stands to reason they could use a replacement.

From Nate Sulat (projecting 23rd overall to LA Galaxy):

Picking Ryan Neil makes all the sense in the world for LA now that Sean Franklin's gone. He's a midfield-defense tweener - though he looked spectacular in midfield this weekend - and is as close to a like-for-like switch as you'll get.

From Simon Borg (projecting 9th overall to San Jose Earthquakes):

After Miller, the best right back is Cal's Neil. And he's probably even a better attacking fullback than Miller. With Beitashour likely gone, they fill a hole with a player they know from his training stint with them during the summer.