MLS reporter Sam Stejskal of the Athletic obtained an initial list of MLS College Showcase invitees and three SMU players are on the list: junior Gabriel Costa, senior Garrett McLaughlin, and junior Nicky Hernandez.
Missing from the list are potential FC Dallas Homegrowns Eddie Munjoma and Philp Ponder – both seniors – and junior Brandon Terwege.
Munjoma’s absence is quite interesting. He’s a player I would like FC Dallas to sign as a Homegrown. Ponder, while also eligible for a Homegrown contract, I would rather see signed by North Texas SC. Terwege, as a junior, I would prefer to stay in school
The fact all three are missing perhaps tells us that any players Homegrown eligible have been left off in favor of players that are eligible for the rest of MLS to draft and perhaps need the exposure.
Update (Wed, Dec 11, 4:45 pm) – MLS confirmed Homegrown eligible players are not involved. “Homegrown-eligible underclassmen players – young talents developed by MLS club academies – will not participate in the 2019 adidas MLS College Showcase.”
I scouted some of these players during their playoff win over Central Florida. But here is a little more info on each.
Side note: UCF’s senior Cal Jennings, who tied for the D1 scoring lead with 18 goals, is on the Showcase list, as is their playmaking junior Louis Perez (t-4th in D1 assists). I was quite impressed with Jennings, see the above link.
Garrett McLaughlin is the most intriguing name on the list. A senior out of Oklahoma, McLaughlin is a creative, game-changing scorer. He finished 2019 with 16 goals (t-7th in D1) and 5 assists in 20 games. I think he’s very likely to get drafted. AAC Rookie of the Year in 2016, Third Team All-American as a Sophomore, his Junior season was derailed by injuries. Career #s: 36 goals, 13 assists, in 72 games (64 starts).
Junior Gabriel Costa is a surprise for me to see on this list. A creative, linking type player he’s deployed as a 10-type player underneath McLaughin in the SMU system. I haven’t seen enough playmaking passing when I have watched him for me to believe he’s a 10 at the next level. I would think an 8 would be a better fit although he did score 8 goals and register 9 assists (t-4th in D1) for SMU this year. 2019 was Costa’s only season at SMU after his transfer from Azusa Pacific where he was PacWest Player of the Year and a DII All-American.
Another junior, Nickey Hernandez, is also on the Showcase list. Herandez played as a deep 6/8 in the SMU double pivot. He looked to be the more linking style long passer of the pair. Again, I’m a bit surprised to see him on here. 5 goals and 2 assists in 2019. Hernandez is a 2 and a half year starter.