The 2016 Major League Soccer SuperDraft took place on Jan. 14 and 19 in Baltimore.Creighton has traditionally been known as a program that breeds MLS players, and this year’s SuperDraft was no exception.
Creighton — who finished the year with an 18-4 record and made a run to the NCAA quarterfinals — had a handful of players who were hopeful to hear their names called. Ultimately, four former Bluejays — Fabian Herbers, Timo Pitter, Vincent Keller, and Connor Sparrow — found new homes as professionals in the United States’ top level of soccer.
The first Bluejay to be selected in the 2016 SuperDraft was junior forward Fabian Herbers. Herbers had a strong junior campaign in which he was runner-up for the MAC Hermann Trophy and the winner of the Hero Sports D1 player of the year, both awards given to the most exceptional Division I soccer player.
In addition to these accolades Herbers was also named Big East Offensive player of the year and an NSCAA first team All-American. Herbers announced on Jan. 10 that he had decided to forgo his senior year of college and enter the draft.
Herbers was selected sixth overall by the Philadelphia Union, which was the fourth- highest selection in the MLS draft ever by a Creighton player.
Although Fabian Herbers was a top six selection overall, he was the third player drafted by Philadelphia. The Union — looking to bolster their youthful core — also acquired the second and third pick, where they selected two Georgetown defenders: Josh Yaro and Keegan Rosenberry, respectively.
Herbers is familiar with Yaro and Rosenberry, who were crucial pieces of the Georgetown team that handed Creighton two of its four losses this season.
The trio of Herbers, Yaro, and Rosenberry has an enormous amount of potential and has Philadelphia fans excited for the future. Once Big East rivals, Herbers is now excited to take the field with his new teammates.
“We played them twice this season,” Herbers said of Yaro and Rosenberry. “They were really good defenders; I had a really hard time with my teammates getting through them.”
“I already met them again at the MLS Combine [the MLS pre-draft workouts that a select number of prospects get invitations to],” Herbers added. “I’m excited to get to know them even more — it’s good to be one of the three guys.”
The second Bluejay off the draft board was senior midfielder Timo Pitter, who was selected by FC Dallas in the second round with the 33rd overall pick in the draft.Pitter started in all 89 matches he appeared in throughout his four year career at Creighton, and was a semi-finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy.
FC Dallas — who traded up four spots in order to secure Pitter — entered the draft with a gaping hole in its midfield. Pitter — who was named the Big East midfielder of the year in the past two seasons — is the perfect candidate to fill that need.
FC Dallas, like Philadelphia, is also a team developing a young core, and Pitter hopes he can be a piece of its puzzle.
“Dallas has a great potential with a lot of young players — I can’t wait to meet them at camp and get started,” said Pitter.
Senior defender Vincent Keller was the third Bluejay off the board, selected by the Chicago Fire with the 57th overall pick in the third round of the SuperDraft.
Keller was the verbal leader of a stout Creighton backline that allowed only 19 goals on the year. Keller fills a defense need for the Fire, and will likely see time playing in right back field in the Windy City.
Senior goalie Connor Sparrow heard his name called just seven picks after Keller, when he was selected by Real Salt Lake in the fourth round with the 65th overall pick of the draft.
Sparrow — a two year starter for the Bluejays — is the program’s all-time leader in career win percentage with a .797 mark. Sparrow was named the Big East Co-Goalkeeper of the Year.
Sparrow will likely be competing for the backup goalie spot behind Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando; a member of the U.S. men’s national team.