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Shinya Kadono and Sam Ebstein Selected in 2019 MLS SuperDraft

California Head Coach Kevin Grimes sends three to MLS, tied for most since 2014

2013 MLS SuperDraft Presented By Adidas
California’s three picks in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft is tied for second among universities in the U.S.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Recently graduated California forward Shinya Kadono and midfielder Sam Ebstein were selected in the 2019 Major League Soccer SuperDraft which concluded Monday.

D.C. United chose Pac-12 top-scorer Kadono in the third round as the 72nd overall pick, while FC Dallas claimed All-Pac-12 midfielder Ebstein in the draft’s final round.

Call it a hat trick for California Head Coach Kevin Grimes.

“I’m really happy these guys are able to fulfill a dream that they had before they decided to come to Cal,” Coach Grimes beamed after the draft.

Kadono and Ebstein join teammate Sam Junqua, who was selected by the Houston Dynamo in the first round Friday. The three selections are the Golden Bears’ best result in the MLS SuperDraft since 2014.

“There have been so many pro players to come out of this program,” Kadono said in a prepared statement. “I’ve actually played with quite a few of them the last four years. That definitely motivated me to work even harder, on and off the field, in order to achieve this goal.”

Kadono was a reliable fixture for California Golden Bears throughout his career. The Irvine, Calif. native scored 20 goals and three assists over four seasons — with 12 goals and two assists earned in the most recent season alone.

Ebstein was the 87th overall pick. The San Francisco local spent most of his senior year sidelined by a nagging injury that never allowed him to compete at his full potential, according to Coach Grimes. Despite the injury, he started 13 matches and played 1,313 minutes in 2018.

“It’s great that a club like FC Dallas did their due diligence and watched Sam over the years… They were able to see his talents over the last two or three years, and that really made the difference,” Coach Grimes explained.

The midfielder contributed seven goals and eight assists for California in four seasons. Ebstein, a product of the MLS youth academy system, played club soccer for the San Jose Earthquakes Under-17 and -18 Academy from 2013 to 2014.

As is the case abroad, youth academies are increasingly becoming the primary source of talent for MLS clubs. Clubs passed 21 of the last 48 picks in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft. Notably, the LA Galaxy passed on the 51st pick and forfeited their remaining three selections in the third and fourth rounds while the Philadelphia Union sold all of their picks to FC Cincinnati before the draft started.