The MLS SuperDraft 2024 was a huge success for the NPSL with 13 alums, including the 2022 TopDrawerSoccer.com NPSL Young Player of the Season, being selected in Tuesday’s draft.
Nate Jones (Austin FC), Jacob Murrell (D.C. United), Matthew Bell (Real Salt Lake), Jeorgio Kocevski (Orlando City SC), Ryan Schewe (Sporting KC), Kalani Kossa-Rienzi (Seattle Sounders FC), Ryan Carmichael (Inter Miami CF), and Brian Schaefer (FC Cincinnati) were all selected in the draft’s first round.
Jones, a standout defender for the University of Washington and Crossfire Redmond, was selected fifth overall. This fall Jones was selected to First Team All-Pac-12 and United Soccer Coaches First Team All-Far West Region after tallying a career-high three goals and two assists while anchoring down the Husky backline. In 58 career collegiate games, Jones compiled almost 4,000 minutes with five goals and three assists.
Murrell, who starred for the NPSL’s Annapolis Blues and Georgetown University, was selected seventh overall after scoring 10 goals in 10 appearances during the 2023 NPSL season. The forward scored 18 goals and recorded eight assists in 40 appearances for Georgetown from 2022 to 2023. In 2023, Murrell scored 11 goals and recorded four assists in 19 appearances for the Hoyas.
Bell, who played for Marshall University and Valeo FC, made history as the highest pick in Marshall and Sun Belt Conference history. The 16th overall pick was named the SBC Offensive and Player of the Year after tallying 12 assists and 10 goals. He was also named a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist and a United Soccer Coaches First-Team All-American selection.
Kocevski was a star midfielder for both Syracuse University and Syracuse FC. The Liverpool, NY native made 71 appearances for the Orange, finishing with seven goals and 18 assists from 2020-2023.
Schewe had two successful seasons at Georgetown in addition to spending the 2022 NPSL season with Georgia’s Apotheos FC. The goalkeeper appeared in 29 matches during the 2022 and 2023 collegiate campaigns, registering 86 saves and 12 shutouts with a 20-4-4 record and a 0.79 goals against average. He was the star of the MLS College Showcase, recording the highest vertical at the event.
Kossa-Rienzi, a midfielder with Crossfire Redmond and the University of Washington, registered six goals with 11 assists over 76 appearances for the Huskies. In 2022, he tallied a career-high three goals and matched a career-high three assists.
Carmichael, a forward with Hofstra University and Georgia Revolution FC, was the 2022 CAA Player of the Year and a three-time first team all-conference pick. The Armagh, Northern Ireland native finished his career ranked second all-time at Hofstra in goals and points.
Schaefer, a defender for USF and Jacksonville Armada FC, was the 27th overall pick. In four seasons with the Bulls, the center back led USF’s defense to seven clean sheets in 44 starts. He also finished with five goals and three assists. Schaefer was selected to the ACC All-Freshman Team in 2020 and then named second-team All-ACC in 2022.
Josh Jones (Real Salt Lake) and Dyson Clapier (Sporting KC) were both selected in the second round.
Jones played as a defender for the Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals and the University Louisville. The Hatfield, PA native was the 2022 TopDrawerSoccer.com NPSL Young Player of the Season in addition to earning 2023 All-ACC Third Team honors with the Cardinals.
Clapier was the draft’s 51st overall pick after starring as a midfielder for both the University of Akron and Akron City FC. In four seasons with the Zips, Clapier totaled 14 goals and 12 assists in 57 appearances.
Gunnar Studenhofft (Colorado Rapids), Tucker Lepley (LA Galaxy), and Taylor Calheira (New York City FC) were all taken in the third round.
Studenhofft, a forward with Manhattan College, Cedar Stars FC, and the Cayman Islands national team, was the 60th overall pick in the draft. He tallied seven goals and two assists for the Jaspers during the 2023 collegiate season. He debuted in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifier against Suriname and later featured in two CONCACAF Nations League matches in 2023, scoring in both appearances.
Lepley, a midfielder with UCLA and Charlottetowne Hops FC, was the draft’s 62nd overall pick. He earned United Soccer Coaches Third Team All-American, First Team All-Far West Region, and First Team All-Pac-12 honors as he led the Bruins to a Pac-12 title in 2023.
Calheira, a forward with UMBC and FC Baltimore Christos, was a two-time America East Striker of the Year. The 66th overall pick earned a plethora of other accolades, including America East First Team, America East All-Academic Team, America East Fall Honor Roll, and America East All-Rookie Team honors.
The NPSL continues to be a pipeline to the pros with 54 NPSL alums selected in the MLS SuperDraft since 2021.
Photo Credit: Matt Ralph and Ric Kruszynski