From December 9-12th, 2022, 44 of the most elite players NCAA soccer has to offer headed to Raleigh, North Carolina for the Adidas MLS college showcase. Freshman sensation, CJ Fodrey, is a likely candidate to be St. Louis SC’s first pick after earning PAC-12 freshman of the year. Charlotte FC fans should remember last year’s Superdraft well, as Ben Bender was selected first overall. Bender, who produced 3 goals and 6 assists in 2022, shows how valuable a good draft selection can be.
The 2023 Superdraft, which is oddly taking place on Dec. 21, 2022, will be a different story for Charlotte FC than their first time around. With expansion teams getting first pick, Charlotte could choose anyone available during the 2022 Superdraft. With a year of hindsight it is easy to say that Bender was a worthwhile addition to the squad. In contrast, with the 20th pick for 2023, this year’s draft will be a smaller field to choose from.
With the action happening on Wednesday via conference call, it is important to be prepared with a list of top prospects. From Clemson left back, Isiah Reid, to UNCG midfielder, JC Ngando, let’s take a look at the realistic selections Charlotte FC will have available to them to bolster an evolving squad.
School- Campbell University
Position- Left Back
Image courtesy of gocamels.com
The Left Back position is where Charlotte FC is most lacking. It is likely they will upgrade that position in the January transfer window, but it also makes sense to find depth for that position during the Superdraft. Mensah would be an excellent addition to Charlotte’s roster. With 13 assists across 73 games in his career, Mensah has shown his ability to get involved with the attack. He is the first player in Campbell University’s 60 year program history to be a 4 time All-Region honoree. His quick athletic ability will be a great asset if he found himself on the pitch in the Charlotte kit. There is a good chance the Campbell University left back will be available by the time Charlotte FC select. It will be up to the club to ultimately decide.
Position- Attacking Midfielder/Forward
The former Chamois FC attacking midfielder is also versatile enough to play forward. With 11 goals in 21 games in 2022 for Pitt, 4 of which were game winners, it’s clear that Noel provides an attacking presence. While Charlotte does have a good deal of depth at the striker position, a lot of changes are still expected in the upcoming months. It wouldn’t hurt to have a player who could slot in at the #9 or #10 roles if needed to close out a match.
Position- Left Back
Image courtesy of clemsontigers.com
Isiah Reid is one of college soccer’s exceptional left backs, and his hometown happens to be Rock Hill, South Carolina. Not only would Reid be close to home, but he would be strengthening Charlotte FCs weakest position at the moment.
While Reid is being viewed as a left back for professional purposes, he also found himself playing forward for Clemson. With 14 goals in his 4 year career, we could see Reid adding to Charlotte FC’s offense if selected 20th overall in the 2023 Superdraft.
Position- Center Back
Image courtesy of guhoyas.com
Wu, who grew up in Cary, NC, could be coming home. The Georgetown center back was invited to the MLS College Showcase earlier this month, as one of the 44 most elite players in college soccer. He is familiar with big games, having scored in the 2019 national championship against UVA.
Wu, who was voted BIG EAST preseason defensive player of the year, followed up the hype by earning First Team All-East Region honors. With Corujo still on the mend and a lack of depth in the center back position for Charlotte FC, Wu could be a perfect draft pick. He has shown his ability to stay fit and healthy, playing nearly every minute across his four year career at Georgetown. It is likely he will be available by the time Charlotte is up to pick. Depending who is left on the board, we could see Wu in the white and blue for the February 25th home opener.
Position- Center Midfielder
Ngando is a playmaker. 4 goals and 14 assists in 21 games shows he is capable of setting up goals. He was the SoCon Freshman of the Year in 2021. Playing at UNCG means he would be familiar with Charlotte.
While it seems like a great fit, Ngando is likely to be a top 10 pick. Like others on this list, it might take a stroke of luck to have the Paris native available to Charlotte FC.
Position- Left Back
Skinner, being a part of the Generation Adidas class, may be out of reach for Charlotte. If he does manage to stay available, he would be the ideal choice. Born in Charlotte, Skinner started his collegiate career at UNCG where he was an All-SoCon player. He then transferred to Clemson where he started every game for the Tigers in 2022.
At the age of 19, Skinner is also one of the younger players in the draft. This is ideal for player growth. While it is likely that Charlotte FC pick up a left back during the January transfer window, Skinner could make an excellent back up. With injuries always being a possibility, it would be nice to have a player of Skinner’s caliber in the depth chart.
Going into the draft, Charlotte FC will be keeping a couple things in mind. Strengthening depth in keys areas like left back is certainly important. With draft selections rarely turning into solid starters though, Charlotte FC could simply choose the best available player left on the board. Between Ngando, Wu, and Noel there’s a good chance one of these players will be available for selection. Only time will tell who is chosen to join Charlotte FC.
The Draft starts Dec. 21st at 5pm and will be live-streamed on Twitter, Twitch, Youtube, and MLSSoccer.com.