Whitecaps opt for 1st pick in MLS SuperDraft

BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:03 PM ET

The Vancouver Whitecaps will pick first overall in the Major League Soccer 2011 SuperDraft.

Vancouver opted Monday to choose first overall in the rookie draft. Portland automatically got first pick in the expansion draft. The existing 16 clubs get to keep 11 players each after the 2010 season.

“We have a lot of people on the list, we have time between now and January to continue to assess the players and determine who’s going to end up on top of it,” said Vancouver’s assistant general manager Greg Anderson.

Vancouver beat its southern expansion cousin in a coin toss during halftime of the July 28 MLS All-Star Game in Houston.

“We feel like we’re going to get someone who could be a benchmark for the franchise,” said Whitecaps’ soccer operations director Tom Soehn.

Vancouver also claimed first pick in the allocation ranking, giving it priority to sign any ex-MLS player who is returning from another league, and it has top priority when negotiating with United States Soccer Federation Division 2 players. Portland will get the designated player priority should both teams negotiate with the same marquee player.

Vancouver is ranked 17th in waiver/re-entry draft priority and 18th in rankings for unsigned free agents.

The Whitecaps’ fortune could end the hideous history of Vancouver expansion franchises at the draft table. The Canucks lost the 1970 NHL coin toss and settled for Dale Tallon after the Buffalo Sabres took future hall of famer Gilbert Perrault first overall. In 1995, the NBA allowed the Grizzlies to pick sixth overall. Basketball’s “bad news bears” selected oft-injured seven-footer Bryant Reeves, who retired in 2001.


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