With the 2017 SuperDraft hours away, many fans are wondering who the Timbers will draft at #10 or if they’ll trade up. Over the past 6 years, Portland has drafted 5 players in the first round, with only one pick evolving into what they hoped he would be. Here is what has happened to Portland’s previous first round SuperDraft picks:
Pick #2: Darlington Nagbe (F) University of Akron
Unless this is your first day following PTFC, you know that Nagbe is still with Portland and, while lacking the goals some fans expect/demand from him, has been a huge part of the team’s success. With the 1st pick of the SuperDraft, Vancouver passed on Nagbe and selected Forward Omar Salgado who stayed with the team until 2014 before being traded to New York City.
Pick #8: Andrew Jean-Baptiste (D) University of Connecticut
During the 2012 and 2013 season, AJB started 26 matches and made 31 appearances. In 2013, he was 16th on mlssoccer.com’s best “24 under 24” and, due to Silvestre’s injury, was a starter in 22 of the first 28 matches. However, AJB didn’t see a start in the final 6 matches of the 2013 season and Futty and Kah got the nods at CB. AJB’s time with PTFC was short lived and at the end of the 2013 season he was traded to Chivas USA in exchange for Jorge Villafana and the #2 re-entry spot. Since leaving PTFC, AJB played 10 matches Chivas in 2014, where he failed to solidify a constant starting spot and underwent surgery with a sports hernia. In 2015, he signed with NYRB, who then loaned him to NYRB II where he only made 10 appearances. 2016 saw him go to Estrella San Agustín (5th tier Spanish team) and at the end of the year, he signed with Nykopings BIS (3rd tier Swedish team). He most recently scored 2 goals in 2 matches for the Haiti national team. Many Timbers fans will best remember AJB for his game winning header in stoppage time v. LAG on July 13, 2013.
Pick #3: Portland traded the 3rd pick, GK Joe Bendik, and allocation money to Toronto in exchange for Ryan Johnson and GK Miloš Kocić
Pick #17: Schillo Tshuma (F) Maryland
Originally from Zimbabwe, Tshuma was a longshot pick for PTFC. Without T2 in place to develop players, he was immediately loaned to Orange County Blues FC (along with Peay), where he made 2 appearances and was then loaned to Arizona United for 17 matches. In 2015, Tshuma was loaned down to T2 and made 10 appearances (6 starts), but scored 0 goals and had 1 assist. During July of the 2015 season, PTFC announced that they’d waived Tshuma and he was promptly loaned back to Arizona United (by MLS) for the remainder of the season where he would end up making 6 appearances and scoring his first professional goal. In mid-March of 2016, Tshuma signed with USL’s Saint Louis FC and played in 19 games, scoring 6 goals. Saint Louis FC ended up tied for 13th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference. Currently, SLFC doesn’t list Tshuma on their five man roster, but his Twitter account still says he’s on the team.
Pick #5: Nick Besler (M) Notre Dame
Matt’s brother was drafted in hopes that he would be the next Matt. Unfortunately, he wasn’t. Nick signed an MLS contract prior to the SuperDraft and after being drafted by PTFC, he was loaned to T2 immediately and was re-signed by PTFC at the end of the 2015 season. He spent the 2015 and 2016 season with T2, making 50 appearances and netting 1 goal. Besler recently signed with RSL’s USL team, Real Monarchs.
Pick #20: England Ben Polk (F) Syracuse
After playing in Oxford United’s academy from the age of 10-17, Polk joined Banbury United, a 7th tier English soccer team, where he played for 2 years. He then moved to the US and played for two community colleges (GCC Cougars and Herkimer Generals) before finishing off his final year at Syracuse. During his time at Syracuse, Polk also spent some time with the PDL side K-W United FC in Canada. Like most recent SuperDraft picks, Polk was loaned to T2 for the 2016 season and made 25 appearances with 1 goal. Polk was not re-signed after the 2016 season and was recently picked up by Orlando B.