With the opening of the 2013 MLS Combine Friday, Frank Klopas and his staff are in Lauderhill, Fla. to observe and narrow down their choices for the team’s sole selection in next week’s MLS SuperDraft.
In terms of stocking their team through the draft, the Fire have done better than most clubs in recently with goalkeeper Sean Johnson (2010) as well as defenders Jalil Anibaba (2011) and Austin Berry (2012) all coming through in the last three years.
“You can see over the last few years how important the draft has been for us,” said Klopas. “We’ve spent a lot of time looking at college players and obviously with our PDL team we have the advantage of bringing players in to train with the first team and see how they do.”
Berry, Rolfe and defender Tony Walls, who came to the Fire through last year’s Supplemental Draft, all were identified as potential first team players after coming through the club’s PDL setup.
With the Fire picking ninth overall in the last two drafts, the team opted for the most MLS-ready, “best player available” option in Anibaba and Berry.
Klopas wouldn’t indicate what position his staff would be looking to fill but with the Fire’s only pick in next Thursday’s draft coming with the 11th overall selection, it seems likely that the strategy of the last two years might carry over to 2013.
“We’ve identified a lot of players and obviously we have to wait and see some of the moves we do make and what the best player is going to be for us when our name comes up at number 11.”
WATCH: MLSsoccer.com's Fire Draft Preview