FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The record books will show the New England Revolution’s 2015 SuperDraft class as the smallest in the club’s 20-year history; just one selection, a third-round pick used to draft Cal State Fullerton forward Marc Fenelus.
But a broader look reveals exactly how the Revs were able to flip their SuperDraft picks into valuable commodities, useful both last year and looking toward the future.
New England’s first-round pick – the 20th overall selection – was sent to Sporting Kansas City last February in the deal that brought Teal Bunbury to Foxborough. A second-round pick was sent to Seattle Sounders FC in exchange for young forward Sean Okoli on draft day. In December 2013, goalkeeper Brad Knighton returned to New England, with a third-round pick going to Vancouver Whitecaps FC. And the Revs’ fourth-round pick was traded to Toronto FC in exchange for versatile veteran Jeremy Hall.
“In the four rounds, we actually have – either on our roster or drafted – a total of five players,” said General Manager Michael Burns. “It’s just a little bit different and unique way we went about it this year, but sometimes that’s the way it goes.”
Bunbury was a major contributor last season as the Revs returned to MLS Cup for the first time in seven years, starting all five postseason games while registering two goals and two assists. Knighton is also a known commodity, serving as a reliable backup to starter Bobby Shuttleworth. Hall, meanwhile, has made more than 100 appearances in a six-year career spanning four MLS clubs.
Okoli, who officially signed with the Revs on Monday, wasn’t in Seattle’s future plans after making just three appearances his rookie season. That opened the door for the Revs to make a move for the 21-year-old forward, sending the 33rd overall pick to Seattle in exchange for depth up top.
“The bottom line for us is that our coaching staff valued and rated Sean higher than what we thought we were going to get with that selection,” said Burns, who said the SuperDraft is all about maximizing the value of your picks, whether that be by selecting a player or trading the pick for other commodities.
Having traded the majority of their picks for other assets – namely, experienced players – the Revs were left with just one selection, nabbing Fenelus with the 47th overall pick. A native of Turks and Caicos, Fenelus will have the chance to impress in preseason as he aims to secure a roster spot and help bolster the Revs’ forward corps.
“He’ll have every opportunity to show that he deserves to be here, that he can play at this level,” said Burns. “Obviously we’re hopeful that Marc will make a name for himself and do well and earn a roster spot.”
Fenelus will hope to become the fifth Revolution player acquired through the 2015 SuperDraft – directly or indirectly – to actually make the Revs’ roster, joining Bunbury, Okoli, Knighton and Hall. Considering the quartet which is already on board, Burns considers this year’s draft an unqualified success.
“All in all, we feel pretty good about the overall 2015 draft,” he said.