In just a few weeks, Orlando City SC will select the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, but the number of players worthy of a top pick is dwindling. While there is obviously a large number of seniors who are available, many of this year's top underclassman have opted out of the draft and have chosen to continue their education instead.
Georgetown defender Joshua Yaro, who was once considered the favorite to take top honors, was first to put his soccer career on hold in order to get his degree. He is more than content with the college game and is willing to wait for Major League Soccer.
"As of now, I am getting to do what I love most, and college gives me the best of both worlds. I get to play at a high level and I get a great education. That is what I have always wanted."
Following the Yaro announcement, UCLA freshman Abu Danladi has become the most recent underclassman giving MLS the cold shoulder. With both Danladi and Yaro unavailable, Orlando City will miss out on two very talented options.
Cristian Roldan and Canadian youngster Cyle Larin are considered the best underclassmen that could still be up for selection, but neither of them have committed to an MLS contract. Reports suggest that Roldan will continue the trend and go back to school next year. Only Larin seems ready to commit his future to professional soccer and enter the draft.
With the collective bargaining agreement just around the corner, Yaro, Danladi, and (potentially) Roldan may have made a smart move financially by putting off MLS one more year. It is no secret that salaries are going to increase league-wide, so why not get your degree in the meantime?
Orlando City has a lot of options when it comes to how best to use the pole position in the draft. The Lions could easily take top forward Larin or one of the seniors who are MLS ready, but with no clear standout, a trade is a very real possibility. Any of the Canadian teams would love to have a native son of Larin's quality, so City could certainly get a sweet deal for its No.1 pick.