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Who will Sporting KC take in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft?

A look at four college draft prospects that may be fits for Sporting Kansas City in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft.



Credit: Thad Bell

This year’s MLS SuperDraft takes place on Tuesday, December 19th, at 3pm Eastern time. Unlike last year when they took Stephen Afrifa with the eighth pick, Sporting KC is not picking high and likely staying at the 22nd pick.

The success Sporting KC has had in the draft is well documented with the likes of Graham Zusi, Roger Espinoza, Matt Besler and tons more who became MLS standouts both with Sporting and elsewhere (see: Teal Bunbury, CJ Sapong) in the league. However, in recent drafts, Sporting KC haven’t exactly hit on their picks. With their last late first round pick they picked at 22nd as well selected Easi Easley, who never played a minute with the first team.

There is hope though, with Stephen Afrifa becoming one of the first SKC picks in years to start a match with the first team, it looks like the draft might again be a location where SKC can find solid MLS talent.

So, who should SKC take in this year’s draft? Well, before we analyze prospects, it’s important to know what Manager Peter Vermes and his staff might be looking for. Vermes mentioned in his roster update that he is looking for a left back (note: SKC just signed Zorhan Bassong at left back), centre back, midfield and attacking positions (they also added winger/striker Alenis Vargas this week). Whew, that’s a lot of positions!

Putting Verme’s comments into context of how the roster currently sits, Sporting KC currently need a left sided centre back to compete with Robert Voloder and Andreu Fontas, a box-to-box midfielder with some attacking ability to fill the void of Gadi Kinda, and a winger that can take minutes off of Johnny Russell and Daniel Salloi.

Bogert: It’s “unlikely [Gadi Kinda will] be back.”

To figure out who SKC should take in the draft I scouted players from the MLS draft eligible list (including some I watched play throughout the year). Some fill a need for the roster, but also fit Sporting KC’s 4-3-3 playing style with overlapping full backs and wingers that cut inside. With that, let’s look at our player options.

Nate Jones, LCB, University of Washington

Jones would add some serious depth to the left centre back spot. At 6’2 he’s tall and stout. His size and strength should translate well to the MLS. Jones is also very good in the air. In fact, all of his goals and assists this year were headers.

In watching Jones playing style, he’s physical in the tackle and composed on the ball. In the games I watched, he rarely if ever got beat and needed to make a goal saving tackle, he was always in the right positions when his team played with the ball and without it.

One of his best attributes might be his long ball passing. Jones is really good at pinging long ball passes onto runners or his targets on the wing. My only gripe with his long ball passing was that I rarely saw him switch play with his long ball. He consistently hit his pass with accuracy down the left side.

Obviously, SKC need another left sided centre back and Nate Jones is probably one of the most polished centre backs in the draft. His game reminds me a lot of a young Matt Besler, if that isn’t too high praise. The only issue is, will he get snatched up earlier in the draft? SKC isn’t the only team needing a centre back, so it’s possible he doesn’t fall all the way to number 22. We can only hope though.

Oliver Hald, LCB, Southern Methodist University

Hald, must be one of the sleeper picks in this draft. I believe he is the best ball playing centre back in this draft, and it’s not that close. In the games I watched, he was extremely comfortable on the ball and could switch play on dime whether under pressure or not. His long ball passing was very reminiscent of Graham Zusi.

Hald also was not afraid to take up space in the attack. As is customary in SKC’s offense, Hald would drive the ball forward if the defense let him. Hald would also break the midfield lines with his passing, often finding a forward or midfielder in positions to score. To give you a sense of his ability, Hald was the designated corner kick taker for his team this year, at centre back.

Standing 6’2 and weighing 170 pounds, Hald does have a slight frame on him, but for his size he is very technically gifted. In addition, he seems versatile, someone who could move over to left back and play comfortable there. That versatility will come in handy seeing as how the left back position needs some support with Logan Ndenbe set to miss much of the year.

Nate Jones could likely be gone in an early pick, but Oliver Hald is a sleeper and is likely to fall to SKC. If he does, SKC should take him. He has the talent and passing ability that would fit right in at SKC. My only concern is that Hald could take up an international spot considering he his from Denmark. That might scare teams, including SKC away, if they don’t want to use an international roster spot on a late round pick.

Tyrese Spicer, Winger, Lipscomb University

If Oliver Hald is the defensive sleeper in the draft, Tyrese Spicer is absolutely the offense sleeper pick. Tyrese Spicer was an absolute baller at Lipscomb this past season. The left footed winger scored 14 goals and added three assists on the year and was MAC Hermann (award for best Men’s/women’s soccer player) semi-finalist.

His size, some speed and technical ability are the real gems of his game. He’s a 6’1 winger with a laser of a shot and dynamic enough to drive past defenders with his speed or his dribbling ability. When I watched him, he played a lot on the left side, but I see no reason why he could get time on the right with SKC, especially given he’s left-footed and can cut inside on the left.

Spicer sends in variety of nice crosses in the box. Whether they were high or low, they always found someone in the box. One of the things Tyrese does well is use his frame to shield the ball. He also plays aggressive down the wing, a trait that will serve him well in the MLS. Spicer will get fouled and get fouled and get right back up and keep driving the ball forward. Spicer plays with a balance of aggression, flair, and confidence. I can guarantee the teams that pass him up will be kicking themselves for years to come.

SKC have a realistic shot at getting Tyrese Spicer. From what I’ve read, there aren’t a lot of draft boards that have him high on their list, though I take them with a grain of salt. Spicer is from Trinidad and Tobago so the prospect of having to use an international spot might be scaring teams away. Nonetheless, I think he’s a can’t miss prospect that will surprise some teams in the pros.

Jahlane Forbes, Left Back, Wake Forest

So now that I got my top three out of the way, I did want to add an honorable mention.

I watched a few of Wake Forest games and Forbes really jumped out at me. He played as an overlapping left back and had a combination of dribbling and speed to get past defenders. He’s also really tall for a full back at 6’0 and plays aggressive. His combination play really stood out. He knows how to play little one-twos with the winger and forward to create space and he gets down the line and puts in great crosses.

I know we just signed a left back in Zorhan Bassong, but PV might want to take a look at Forbes and stash him with SKC II because he could be a really solid player in the future.


Overall, this draft has some nice attacking and defensive talent that will likely get taken early. I think Sporting KC’s best bet is snagging one of these sleeper picks, or maybe another we haven’t heard of, and developing them into an MLS starter or depth. That would be a huge win with Sporting KC picking at 22.

If I had to pick one player of the four I mentioned, I’d take Tyrese Spicer. Maybe I’m a sucker for attacking play but 6’2 wingers with technical ability don’t grow on trees. Especially they can play in a position of need. I’d take a chance on him. If it works out, SKC look like geniuses. If it doesn’t, well they get another shot at the draft next year too.

So, what do you think of these options? Is there another player in the draft you think SKC should look at? Let us know in the comments!

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