CHICAGO – It has become increasingly difficult to predict the MLS SuperDraft in recent years, but there was something of a consensus with regards to Syracuse University attacker Tajon Buchanan ahead of Friday afternoon’s event at McCormick Place in Chicago.
Not every mock draft had the 19-year-old Generation adidas signing as the top overall pick – several did – but he was consistently one of the first players off the board on just about every occasion.
So when pick after pick was announced without Buchanan’s name being called on Friday, inching closer to the New England Revolution’s first selection at ninth overall, they began to perk up. And when the Houston Dynamo made Sam Junqua the eighth overall pick, New England’s decision was simple.
“You never know until the eighth pick is selected (what’s going to happen),” said Revolution General Manager Michael Burns. “There were a lot of mock drafts – and that’s exactly what they are is mock drafts – but some had him going one, two, certainly in the top three or four.
“We were pleasantly surprised when Tajon was still available at nine. On our mock draft board we had him probably selected before us, so when he was there at nine it was a pleasant surprise for us.”
In the end the Revs were thrilled to add a young, versatile attacking player who turned heads with his athleticism and on-the-ball ability during a two-year stint at Syracuse. Head coach Brad Friedel said Buchanan can fit into a variety of different attacking roles with the Revs, and the player agrees.
“Wherever the coaches want me to play, I’m going to play and give it my all,” Buchanan said. “I’m looking to work hard and get to know my teammates, get to know the fans, my coaching staff. I’m just really willing to give it my all right now, get started, and show everybody what I can do.”
As for waiting a bit longer than expected to hear his name called, it didn’t bother Buchanan in the slightest.
“I’m just grateful,” he said. “I wanted to go anywhere, honestly. I didn’t really care where I went. I’d give it my all for any club. To finally hear my name called was a relief and I’m just extremely excited.”
Buchanan, a native Canadian, will make his first-ever visit to Boston in just 10 days as he joins the Revs for the start of preseason camp on January 21. While he already has a contract signed and has officially been added to the Revs’ roster, he knows the journey is just beginning and there’s plenty of work ahead.
“Just take it day-by-day and control what I can really control,” Buchanan said when asked about his mindset heading into his first pro camp. “Don’t be thinking too far down the road. Just focus on the present, work hard and give it my all.”