Wilkinson and Spencer Prepare for MLS SuperDraft

"We have specific types of players in mind,"

Gavin Wilkinson SuperDraft 2011 Logo

Photo Credit: 
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

The 2011 adidas MLS Player combine began today and is running over the weekend and  through January 11 in advance of next week’s January 13 2011 MLS SuperDraft. Over 70 collegiate and a handful of international players have been invited to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. to take part in scrimmages, tests, and interviews with MLS coaches and technical staffs.

Timbers general manager and technical director Gavin Wilkinson and head coach John Spencer along with their assistants and other technical staff traveled to Florida to take stock and plan ahead. Given that the team has the No. 2 overall selection in the first round, the ability to acquire an impact player is great.

“That’s part of our search. We do want to find a player that can contribute in the first year. We’re looking at their mental toughness, their make-up, their maturity and how capable they are at starting and contributing in a big, big way,” said Wilkinson.

“The best comparison would be [Philadelpia Union’s] Danny Mwanga. [New York Red Bulls’] Tim Ream is another one. They come in their first year and don’t just become part of a squad or part of a team but become a key component of that group.”

With the team having already acquired a solid foundation of players via trades, signings and the MLS Expansion Draft, Wilkinson is eager to utilize the SuperDraft.

“We are looking for an attacking player and we have specific types of players in mind,” he said.

Even with all the planning and preparation, SuperDrafts often have the potential for changes and adjustments on the fly. Wilkinson is prepared saying, “If we see somebody that’s phenomenal that’s just too good to pass up, then we will take the best player available. That player will obviously be of value to the organization.”

For full coverage of the 2011 MLS Combine and SuperDraft, stay tuned to www.portlandtimbers.com and MLSsoccer.com for combine game broadcasts and updates.