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Big Board: 2012 MLS Draft's top 50 prospects

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Ives Galarcep

Ives Galarcep is a 14-year veteran of the American soccer beat. He created and operates the popular American soccer blog, Soccer By Ives, which was voted Best American Soccer Blog by US Soccer in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Ives was also voted Best Football Writer by SoccerLens in 2010. 
 

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With the MLS draft only hours away, here are FOX Soccer's top 50 prospects - our final big board:

Rank   Player Pos. School
1 Andrew Wenger M/D Duke

2011 Stats: 22 games, 17 goals, 8 assists

Versatile, athletic and capable of contributing at multiple positions. Could develop into a star center back. Scored goals in bunches when converted to forward, but seems more likely to contribute at defensive midfield or right back if he doesn’t settle in at center back.

Rank   Player Pos. School
2 Darren Mattocks F Akron

2011 Stats: 22 games, 21 goals, 4 assists

Explosive forward who could contribute as a winger or striker. Boasts game-changing speed. There are questions about his tactical awareness and ability to combine well with teammates, but coming from Akron’s possession attacking system, Mattocks seems well suited to thrive in the pros.

Rank   Player Pos. School
3 Kelyn Rowe M UCLA

2011 Stats: 22 games, 5 goals, 10 assists

An attacking midfielder who can also run at defenders and score goals, Rowe is the type of creator who can make an offense go. A member of the US Under-23 national team pool, he has held is own against top pro prospects in that setting and shouldn't have trouble adjusting to MLS.

Rank   Player Pos. School
4 Luis Silva M UC Santa Barbara

2011 Stats: 22 games, 17 goals, 10 assists

A silky smooth and quick attacking midfielder. He needs to work on being more of a two-way player, but his speed, movement and penchant for delivering the perfect pass make him very dangerous.

Rank   Player Pos. School
5 Enzo Martinez M North Carolina

2011 Stats: 23 games, 9 goals, 10 assists

An elegant central midfielder who brings finesse to the possession game, Martinez can unlock a defense with smart passes andcan also bury a long-range goal of his own.

Rank   Player Pos. School
6 Sam Garza F/W UC Santa Barbara

2011 Stats: 23 games, 8 goals, 4 assists

A speedster who can play forward or on the wing, Garza impressed MLS scouts at the Combine with his productivity on the flank and nose for goal.

Rank   Player Pos. School
7 Casey Townsend F Maryland

 

2011 Stats: 21 games, 17 goals, 2 assists

The second-best forward in the draft, Towsend is a dead-eye finisher who is constantly moving and putting himself in perfect spots to score.

Rank   Player Pos. School
8 Matthew Hedges D North Carolina

2011 Stats: 23 games, 5 goals, 1 assists

The most polished center back in the draft class, he didn’t dominate at the MLS Combine, but enough teams know that his technical ability on the ball and strength in the air make him a potential all-star center back.

Rank   Player Pos. School
9 Dom Dwyer F South Florida

2011 Stats: 20 games, 16 goals, 2 assists

The South Florida striker has pace but also serious strength to ward off defenders. He is also a quality finisher which, coupled with his Generation adidas status, should make him one of the first forwards off the draft board.

Rank   Player Pos. School
10 Chandler Hoffman F UCLA

2011 Stats: 22 games, 18 goals, 4 assists

A potent finisher who always seems to put himself into good positions to create and finish chances, Hoffman doesn’t boast elite speed or top-end strength. He’s just a natural goal-scorer, something not easy to find.

Rank   Player Pos. School
11 Nick DeLeon M Louisvilla

2011 Stats: 21 games, 6 goals, 6 assists

A dangerous left winger who is also capable of playing as a central midfielder, DeLeon could slip in the draft after missing most of the Combine, but teams that have watched him star at Louisville know he’s still an elite talent.

Rank   Player Pos. School
12 Tony Cascio D Connecticut

2011 Stats: 24 games, 4 goals, 8 assists

Plenty of MLS teams are looking for strong wingers, and with the flank options a bit limited in the draft pool, Cascio becomes that much more enticing a prospect. A tall and technically skilled winger, Cascio can run at defenders and also pass well.

Rank   Player Pos. School
13 Aaron Maund D Notre Dame

2011 Stats: 18 games, 0 goals, 2 assists

A strong and poised center back who started all four years at Notre Dame, Maund brings maturity and quality athleticism to the middle of a defense. He answered questions about his passing ability out of the back at the Combine with some sharp distribution.

Rank   Player Pos. School
14 Austin Berry D Louisville

2011 Stats: 22 games, 1 goal, 2 assists

A true leader who has a no-nonsense demeanor and strong presence in central defense, Berry impressed MLS coaches with his steady defensive contributions and ability to avoid mistakes. Polished enough to step in and start in MLS.

Rank   Player Pos. School
15 Calum Mallace M Marquette

2011 Stats: 16 games, 3 goals, 6 assists

Coaches love true two-way players, and Mallace showed he can be that player at the Combine by combining defensive bite with some intriguing attacking flair to finish as one of the stars of the event. There’s a reason he was rated the Big East’s top midfielder.

Rank   Player Pos. School
16 Andrew Jean-Baptiste D Connecticut

2011 Stats: 24 games, 2 goals, 1 assist

A big centerback who also happens to be just 19 and a Generation adidas player, Jean-Baptiste boasts impressive strength and athleticism, but questions about his decision-making and technical ability keep him from being ranked higher.

Rank   Player Pos. School
17 Lucky Mkosana F Dartmouth

2011 Stats: 17 games, 10 goals, 1 assist

A Dartmouth striker who wasn’t known by many scouts before the Combine, Mkosana made a name for himself by showing good strength on the ball, speed and an ability to play with both feet.

Rank   Player Pos. School
18 Andrew Duran D Creigton

2011 Stats: 24 games, 0 goals, 0 assists

A poised and skillful centerback who can also contribute at right back, Duran didn’t come in with the same fanfare of some of the other central defense prospects, but he just might wind up being the best of the bunch.

Rank   Player Pos. School
19 Hunter Jumper LB Virginia

17 games, 2 goals, 4 assists

The best left back in this draft at the moment, Jumper is dangerous getting forward and adequate defensively. Questions about decision-making and his ability to defend one-on-one do trouble some scouts, but the lack of quality left back options in the draft (and in the league) makes him an even more valuable prospect.

Rank   Player Pos. School
20 Andy Rose D UCLA

2011 Stats: 24 games, 2 goals, 3 assists

A dominant defensive midfielder who covers ground well and distributes well out of deep in midfield, Rose emerged from the Combine as arguably the most pro-ready of the defensive midfield prospects. At 6-2, he covers ground well and can dominate in the air.

Rank   Player Pos. School
21 Tyler Polak D Creighton

2011 Stats: 24 games, 1 goal, 5 assists

A young and talented left back who struggled at the MLS Combine, Polak is still a quality young prospect who some team will grab in the first round of the MLS Draft. He can get forward well and is a solid defender.

Rank   Player Pos. School
22 Tommy Meyer D Indiana

2011 Stats: 22 games, 0 goals, 7 assists

A 6-foot-2 centerback with good feet and good ability in the air, Meyer may be a notch below the elite class of center backs in this draft field, but he’s not far behind.

Rank   Player Pos. School
23 Babayele Sodade F UAB

2011 Stats: 21 games, 13 goals, 5 assists

Much like Mkosana, Sodade wasn’t known by many MLS coaches before the Combine, but once he flashed the surprisingly good feet and deceptive speed built into his 6-foot-3 frame, his stock began to climb as one of the sleeper forwards in the draft.

Rank   Player Pos. School
24 Ethan Finley F Creighton

2011 Stats: 24 games, 14 goals, 6 assists

Scoring 43 goals in college doesn’t happen by accident, and Finlay showed at the Combine that his speed, quickness and great timing on his runs make him a menace for any defense to deal with. Could project to be a winger on the next level.

Rank   Player Pos. School
25 Colin Rolfe F Louisville

2011 Stats: 22 games, 9 goals, 10 assists

A year ago Rolfe was one of the top strikers in the nation. He stayed in school and struggled through a disappointing senior season. He didn’t help himself much at the Combine, delivering a flat performance. There is still talent there, which could make him a steal.

The Next 25

26. Chris Blais, Goalkeeper, South Florida
27. Evan James, Right winger, Charlotte
28. Greg Jordan, Defensive Midfielder, Creighton
29. Ryan Meara, Goalkeeper, Fordham
30. Alec Purdie, Right winger, Indiana
31. Kohei Yamada, Attacking Midfielder, International (Japan)
32. Evans Frimpong, Left Winger/Forward, Delaware
33. Kirk Urso, Defensive Midfielder, North Carolina
34. Antoine Hoppenot, Forward, Princeton
35. Arthur Ivo, Attacking Midfielder/Left Winger, SMU
36. Kenney Walker, Defensive Midfielder, Louisville
37. Aldo Paniagua, Right Winger, International (Paraguay)
38. James Kiffe, Left Back, UCSB
39. Justin Chavez, Centerback, Tulsa
40. Brian Ownby, Right Winger/Forward, Virginia
41. Luke Holmes, Winger, Akron
42. Miguel Ibarra, Attacking Midfielder, UC-Irvine
43. Raymon Gaddis, Right Back, West Virginia
44. Brian Rowe, Goalkeeper, UCLA
45. Lance Rozeboom, Defensive Midfielder, New Mexico
46. Charles Rodriguez, Centerback, Charlotte
47. Mykell Bates, Right Back/Centerback, Santa Clara
48. Chris Estridge, Left Back, Indiana
49. Jason Banton, Left Winger, International (England)
50. Kevan George, Defensive Midfielder, Central Florida

Ives Galarcep is a senior writer for FOXSoccer.com covering Major League Soccer and the US National Team.

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