What is the MLS SuperDraft? Format, rules, how it works, where to watch 2024 player picks

The 2024 MLS season is approaching, and that means it’s time for the SuperDraft.

The annual event, in which collegiate players may be selected by professional clubs, remains an important part of the way the league operates even in an era in which many teams rely more heavily on the production line of their own youth academy.

Famous MLS figures including Andre Blake, Andrew Farrell, Geoff Cameron and Jozy Altidore have been selected via the SuperDraft. More recently, Canada internationals Alistair Johnson and Tajon Buchanan have seen the SuperDraft propel them to stardom.

While some could make a swift step up to the professional leagues, others may find their pathway takes them to MLS NEXT Pro, in which young prospects can develop further with MLS reserve teams before attempting the jump to the highest level.

The 2024 MLS SuperDraft will begin with Toronto FC’s first pick. The excitement is already building.

What is the MLS SuperDraft?

The MLS SuperDraft has been an annual event since 2000, when it replaced the original MLS College Draft.

The SuperDraft is a means for MLS teams to select the best young talent from the college system and build out their roster in the process. It is similar in essence to the NFL or NBA Draft, although the development of top-class youth academies at MLS clubs means the SuperDraft’s importance is not quite what it was.

Where to watch MLS SuperDraft 2024

Fans can watch the 2024 MLS Superdraft via the MLS Season Pass, which is available on Apple TV.

When is the MLS SuperDraft 2024?

The 2024 MLS SuperDraft takes place on Tuesday, December 19. It begins at 3 p.m. ET.

MLS SuperDraft 2024 format: Who has first pick?

The first pick in the SuperDraft goes to the team with the fewest regular-season points from the previous season. That means the first pick for 2024 goes to Toronto FC.

Next in line are the teams that did not qualify for the MLS Cup playoffs, and then those who were eliminated from the postseason early. Those teams are positioned based on their regular-season points totals from 2023. Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami are third this year.

The exception are the Colorado Rapids, who acquired fourth pick in the 2024 SuperDraft as part of a trade with the LA Galaxy, meaning they have two of the first 10 picks.

MLS SuperDraft 2024 Top 10 first picks

Toronto FC
Colorado Rapids
Inter Miami CF
Colorado Rapids
Austin FC
Chicago Fire FC
D.C. United
New York City FC
Minnesota United FC
CF Montreal

MLS SuperDraft 2024: Rules, how it works, player criteria

The 2024 SuperDraft will, for the first time, see a broader list of eligible players. This year’s draft will be open to all players who are collegiate sophomores, juniors and above; in previous years, only college seniors and Generation Adidas players — those highlighted as the best young players in the country.

MLS clubs will be able to draft players who fit the following criteria, as per the league:

“1. Players who are collegiate sophomores and above.

“2. Generation adidas players.

“3. Any former college player who departed college with remaining eligibility since the conclusion of the college season approximately one (1) year prior to the SuperDraft (i.e., since the conclusion of the 2022 college season) in order to compete as a professional in a league domestically (e.g., USL, NISA, CPL).

“Any other players specifically made available by the league (such as pre-signed College seniors or pre-signed internationals).”

There will be nearly 400 players available in 2024, with a total of 87 picks to be made across the 29 MLS clubs.

There are three rounds to the SuperDraft. Every team, beginning with Toronto FC, is allowed four minutes to make a selection in Round 1 and three minutes in each subsequent round.

Each team is allowed one timeout of three minutes, after which an immediate selection must be made. If a club fails to make a selection within their time limit, they will have to wait until the next pick is made.

If a team passes on a selection, they won’t be allowed to make another.

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