YCS was on location in St. Louis at America's Ballroom for the 2009 MLS Draft. Among the highlights included.
Roughly 500-600 fansand traveling supporters attended the first round. Among these were fans who supported Kansas City, Chicago, New York, DC United, Columbus, and a contingent supporting the still-yet-to-exist St. Louis team (St. Louis is vying for one of two expansion teams in 2011 with four other cities) all heckling each other.
A Midwestern geography lesson was unintentionally handed out as the St. Louis supporters all singing to the tune of "He's got the whole world in his hands" belted out, "There's only one city in Missouri....St. Louis is her name" obviously directed at the Kansas City supporters, who responded in turn "Your teeeeeeeam's in Illllllllllinois...." a reference to the St. Louis efforts to build a soccer stadium in nearby Collinsville, IL. The KC fans were apparently oblivious to the fact that since last season, they actually play in Kansas City, Kansas. Should St. Louis get a team, it is quite possible it will be billed as a cross-Missouri rivalry, but with neither team actually IN Missouri.
Steve Zakuani from the University of Akron going to Seattle Sounders FC with the first pick in the draft. No surprises there. Cue cheesy highlight reel.
Seattle Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid being EVEN FATTER IN PERSON THAN ON TV.
Meeting up and briefly chatting with MLS Commissioner Don Garber, ESPN Soccer analyst Janus Michalik, MLS Coaches Dominic Kinnear (Houston) and Juan Carlos Osorio (New York), and current and former Fire front office staff (Former GM John Guppy and current Technical Director Frankie Klopas). The conversation with Guppy was especially amusing for this blogger, for various reasons which I will not elaborate here.
Chicago Fire being nice and making us wait less and making a great draft pick to boot. After trading away their first round pick to Toronto FC last summer for Brian McBride (SUCKERS!!!!!!), the Fire were without a scheduled pick untill the 28th pick (late second round). However, they made a trade with Colorado Rapids, swapping second round picks, and with Chicago sending the rights to former keeper Matt "Slim" Pickens to Colorado in exchange for cash.
Here's why this deal is so good. After a breakout one-year-wonder year, Pickens was last seen playing contract hardball with the Fire before announcing he was leaving to ply his trade in Europe. Not knowing how good he had it at Toyota Park, Pickens signed with, failed to crack the first team, and was subsequently released from Queens' Park Rangers. QPR is more or less to England what the LA Clippers are to America. Constantly mismanaged and generally a laughingstock. The Fire used their new 20th pick to draft All-American Baggio Husidic from UIC. The Bosnian-born player is part of a select group of players called "Generation Adidas" who get extra money from Adidas, and as a result, their salaries do not count against the league's criminally low salary cap. Husidic will likely find a role in the Fire's defensive midfield. Long story short, the Fire got just the player they needed in exchange for a player who didn't even play for the Fire last season, was a head case anyway, and the Fire even conned Colorado out of some money in the deal too.
Meeting two of the Fire's four draft picks.
Fourth-round selection Richard Jata, selected with one of the last picks in the draft (was the only player still sitting in the invited players' section) giving perhaps the most frank and honest speech I've ever heard any athlete give. As he got his team scarf, walked to the podium and said more or less "Yea......ummmm.....I want to thank my dad......and Chicago for drafting me......I really don't know what else to say....I didn't think I was going to get drafted.....sooooo.....I won't really waste your time here."