Five days after the marquee rounds of the SuperDraft wrapped up in Baltimore, MLS completed the drafting process by conference call on January 19th, with the San Jose Earthquakes selecting Kip Colvey (Cal Poly) and Tyler Thompson (Stanford).
While the Quakes scooped up pedigree with their first two selections, including a player regarded as a top-10 talent in the country going into the 2015 season in Patrick Hodan, the later rounds require deeper scouting (and a bit of luck) to find players capable of making MLS rosters. While difficult, it is not impossible, as shown by the Quakes own history, which includes Steven Beitashour (late 2nd round), Adam Jahn (3rd Round), and, of course, Chris Wondolowski (8th round).
As such, here's a look at the two names called at the draft that will be given shots at making the Quakes roster in 2016:
Round 3, Pick 8: Kip Colvey (RB - Cal Poly)
Colvey never got a combine invite from MLS, and didn't make any media organization's "Big Board," so San Jose will be hoping that they found a diamond in the rough.
No doubt the tip came from Paul Holocher, the current Quakes academy coach who recruited Colvey to the Mustangs and coached him for his first two years in the program. One might imagine, too, that he also impressed at the semi-secret combine the Quakes host annually for regional college seniors.
The player himself was born in Hawaii and raised in New Zealand, playing international soccer at the U-17 and U-23 level for the Kiwis but also, as a US Passport-holder, counting as a domestic player for MLS purposes. He's a marauding fullback with pace and a refined attacking skill set for a defender, solid positional sense at the back, and an adequate (if not hulking) frame. While right-footed, he started his college career under Holocher as a left-back, and may well be able to back up at both positions.
Check out his highlight reel below:
Round 4, Pick 8: Ty Thompson (CM - Stanford)
It's hard to imagine a fanbase getting more excited about a fourth round pick than they were on this one. Thompson is not only the older brother of homegrown Quake Tommy Thompson, he's a Burlingame Dragon alumni and graduate of a Stanford program that has had close links with San Jose over the years.
While it's certainly a feel-good pick of a local kid, he has some potential to make the roster too. An incredibly hardworking, disciplined, rugged, and tidy defensive midfielder, Thompson could fill in JJ Koval's shoes should his former Cardinal teammate move back into defense. Two traits that stand out about his game are his high soccer IQ and ability to ride challenges with strength and balance.
Eventually, national sources started noticing during the NCAA tournament in which Thompson captained his Stanford squad to their first national title. His performances there earned him an MLS combine invite.
However, despite the positives, there are reasons he wasn't tapped until the fourth round. He's a bit limited in overall athleticism, he's not particularly big, and his passing is more accurately described as "tidy" than "creative." If you were comparing him to NFL quarterbacks, he'd fit in better with the "game-managers" who are conservative and take care of the ball rather those that get plaudits for making plays or "throwing receivers open."
MLS put together a little highlight package before the draft of Thompson: