One of the questions I've been asked ahead of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, is which are the Galaxy's best draft picks from days past. I've expressed my shortcomings in that area before, but to be fair, much of MLS history is murky and told through word of mouth in dark hallways. Thus all my history posts, trying to tie together all these events into some sense of history. Going back to the 2007 draft, let's see how exactly these draft picks have panned out.
As you can see from the lead photo, January 2007 was a different time. It's before the midseason acquisition of David Beckham and the subsequent blue and gold rebranding. There are three draft picks in the photo, but head coach Frank Yallop actually made five draft picks over the course of four rounds. In the second round, he snagged up Ty Harden, Robbie Findley, and Josh Tudela.
Tudela stuck around on the roster for three years, but never really caught on. He was loaned out to the California Victory in his first year, and when the Galaxy let him go after the 2009 season he played two games with amateur side Doxa Italia, before finally catching on with the Los Angeles Blues last year. Tudela started in midfield against the Galaxy in the US Open Cup match last year.
Robbie Findley has had more success. After being traded to Real Salt Lake along with Nathan Sturgis for Chris Klein, he had four strong years that lead to a contract with Nottingham Forest, and 11 caps with the US National Team. Klein retired with the Galaxy after 2010 to little fanfare.
Ty Harden is an odd story, retiring after one year to finish his college degree at the University of Washington, then the Galaxy traded his rights to the Colorado Rapids for a draft pick. Harden returned to MLS and played 7 games for the Rapids, then was traded to Toronto FC in 2010.
Of the final two picks in that draft, one should sound familiar. Tally Hall, who played in goal for the Houston Dynamo in last year's MLS Cup was drafted in the fourth round of the 2007 MLS SuperDraft by the LA Galaxy. He also started in last year's All Star Game against Manchester United.
The final pick was a local prospect, Bobby Burling from Loyola Marymount, except Burling never signed a contract with the Galaxy, instead was picked up by Chivas. From Chivas he ended up in San Jose, and was left unprotected in last year's Expansion Draft then snatched up by the Montreal Impact.
So from the 2007 draft, Frank Yallop was essentially able to get Chris Klein for the Galaxy, while the Galaxy were able to secure Tally Hall, Bobby Burling, and Robbie Findley for MLS. That's the trouble with prospects, usually they end up as trade fodder then become stars somewhere else. If you can't trade them, they usually burn out.
Unless you're good at drafting. We'll look at 2008 tomorrow, then we'll look at what happens when someone who's good at drafting takes over.