Sporting KC - Matt Besler MLS SuperDraft 2009

#TBT: Looking back at the best draft picks in Sporting history

The first two rounds of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft came and went Thursday with no involvement from Sporting Kansas City, which had zero picks in either round due to previous trades with other MLS clubs.

Sporting’s moment in the 2020 draft will come this Monday, Jan. 13, when the final two rounds take place via conference call. Manager Peter Vermes’ side holds the 58th overall pick in the third round and the 84th overall pick in the fourth.

With the SuperDraft upon us, we celebrate #ThrowbackThursday by taking a chronological trip through memory lane and revisiting some of the best draft picks in club history.


Matt McKeon – 1996 MLS College Draft (1st overall)

The first overall pick in Major League Soccer’s inaugural college draft was St. Louis native Matt McKeon, who ventured across the state to become an integral member of Kansas City during the club’s foundational years.

Chris Klein – 1998 MLS College Draft (4th overall)

The Wizards hit a homerun with their first-round pick in 1998, taking yet another St. Louis native who would go on to become a club legend. Klein helped Kansas City to the MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield double in 2000 as an indefatigable, two-way midfielder.

Nick Garcia – 2000 MLS SuperDraft (2nd overall)

Garcia made an instant impact upon joining from Indiana University, earning a starting spot in Kansas City’s historically stingy backline. The Wizards allowed just 29 goals in 32 regular season games, ultimately claiming the MLS Cup title, but Garcia’s defensive contributions would be felt for years to come.

Kerry Zavagnin – 2000 MLS SuperDraft (30th overall)

Zavagnin had played in MLS from 1997-1998, but a year away from the league required him to re-enter in the 2000 SuperDraft. Kansas City hit the proverbial jackpot, landing an eventual Sporting Legend with the 30th overall pick.

Davy Arnaud – 2002 MLS SuperDraft (50th overall)

Arguably the biggest draft steal in Sporting history. Arnaud was an unsung midfielder out of West Texas A&M who saw 49 players taken before him in the 2002 draft. Kansas City rolled the dice on the combative midfielder and the rest, as they say, is history.

Jack Jewsbury – 2003 MLS SuperDraft (43rd overall)

Much like Arnaud, Jewsbury (pictured above right) wasn’t on many draft radars after finishing his career at Saint Louis University. He was taken by the Wizards in the latter stages of the event and went on to enjoy a terrific, 14-year MLS career.

Chance Myers – 2008 MLS SuperDraft (1st overall)

Sporting’s right back during their dominant run from 2011-2013 was Myers, who lived up to his No. 1 overall billing. The UCLA product took a few seasons to hit full stride, but once he did, he was an invaluable piece of the Sporting defense.

Roger Espinoza – 2008 MLS SuperDraft (11th overall)

One of the most iconic players in club history, Espinoza (pictured right) joined Kansas City out of the Ohio State University. Thanks to standout performances early in his career, he broke into the Honduras Men’s National Team and went on to represent Los Catrachos at two World Cups and an Olympics. His contributions to Sporting were just as pronounced.

Matt Besler – 2009 MLS SuperDraft (8th overall)

The club’s all-time leader in games, starts and minutes has served as the face of the franchise, anchoring the backline of his hometown club since 2009. He has claimed MLS Defender of the Year and MLS Best XI honors and featured 47 times for the United States, but not before sweating it out at the MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 15, 2009, in St. Louis.

Graham Zusi – 2009 MLS SuperDraft (23rd overall)

It’s hard to imagine that 22 players were taken ahead of Zusi, a heralded U.S. international and two-time MLS Best XI selection. Nevertheless, stars aligned in a major way as then-technical director Peter Vermes made his second masterstroke choice of the event. Fifteen picks after taking Besler, Vermes and Kansas City added Zusi on a day that will forever go down as one of the most significant in club history.

Teal Bunbury – 2010 MLS SuperDraft (4th overall)

Bunbury was an uber-athletic forward who led Sporting’s front line at the turn of the decade. He remains a savvy attacking presence heading into 2020, which will be his 11th MLS season.

C.J. Sapong – 2011 MLS SuperDraft (10th overall)

Sapong didn’t take long to settle in, claiming MLS Rookie of the Year honors in 2011 and helping the club to the 2012 U.S. Open Cup and 2013 MLS Cup titles. Like Bunbury, Sapong has continued to experience success at the MLS level and will prepare for his 10th pro season in 2020.

Dom Dwyer – 2012 MLS SuperDraft (16th overall)

Ranking second on the club’s all-time goal scoring charts, Dwyer enjoyed a major breakout in 2014 and was one of the league’s premier strikers over the next three seasons. His 2017 departure to Orlando City SC won’t diminish what the Englishman accomplished in Kansas City, where he won an MLS Cup and an Open Cup.

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