Jeff Berding Discusses FCC's MLS SuperDraft Trades

In a matter of hours, FC Cincinnati made two trades that can define the team’s present and future.

First came a deal with Los Angeles FC that saw FCC collect the No. 16 pick in Friday’s Major League Soccer SuperDraft, in addition to $175,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM). The cost was a fourth-round pick and an allocation spot in either 2020 or 2021.

The second trade saw FCC acquire all five Philadelphia Union 2019 draft picks for $150,000 in GAM. That deal can rise to $200,000 through player-based incentives.

Essentially, FCC gained a first rounder and cash from LAFC, then took the money to buy five more picks. It’s a straightforward move, but it’s one that could impact FC Cincinnati’s future beyond the upcoming inaugural season in MLS.

FCC now has 10 picks in Friday’s SuperDraft, including three in the top 16 and seven in the first 37.

Here’s a list of the team’s current draft spots:

  1. First round: 1, 13, 16
  2. Second round: 1(25), 5 (29), 6 (30), 13 (37)
  3. Third round: 1 (49), 13 (61)
  4. Fourth round: 13 (85)

These are opportunities to draft instant-impact players, build the first-team roster or select future prospects who can be loan for minutes and experience. For a young club still building, these picks offer significant insight into what follows in the team’s future.

“While our primary focus is going to continue to be building for our first season, this is an opportunity to build for the future,” Team President and General Manager Jeff Berding said. “We don’t have an academy and we don’t have Homegrowns. This gives us an opportunity to jumpstart that process.

“Certainly, the draft involves a projection and mathematically there’s going to be hits and misses. But the greater number of picks, you give yourself the greatest opportunity to get future contributors to your first team.”

FC Cincinnati enters the SuperDraft with 21 players on its roster. With 10 picks currently, that implies some players could be loaned, potentially to United Soccer League clubs. FCC frequently played against opponents who utilized loan opportunities during the three-year USL stint.

Of course, the club can add more picks or package them in trades. Whatever follows from this draft, the team will have younger players who might serve as the club’s core in the 2020s.

“It’s exciting for all of us on the technical side,” Berding said. “It’s exciting for our owners and front office and it’s certainly going to be exciting for our fans.

“We’ve worked very hard to evaluate the players who are eligible in the draft and we are very determined to use this historic draft opportunity to get a jumpstart on building for the future.”