Tuesday, January 19th, 2021 -- With the 2021 MLS SuperDraft days away, Chandler's Josh Drack looks poised to become the 20th Arizona native to be selected since 1996.
In the latest SBI 2021 MLS SuperDraft Mock Draft, Drack is slated to be the 8th overall pick and heading to the Portland Timbers. While Drack grew up playing forward for Sereno Soccer Club, Arizona Arsenal, and Hamilton High School he might be making the move to left back after an impressive showing at the 2020 College Invitational Combine.
"Prior to the combine, I had no idea I would be playing left back. I only found out before the first game so I just needed to have the right mentality to play my role and help the team," Drack said. "I grew in confidence to get in the attack and combine and use my strengths but at the core I needed to just play simple and play my role. The experience of playing with and against top college players didn't intimidate me. I knew I was up to the standard as many guys and even better. It was a great experience being able to play with guys I don't normally play with and being able to play with and against players that I haven't played with was very fun."
Drack's position change might echo a similar and successful path to the pros made by Paradise Valley native Brooks Lennon who started out as a winger before transitioning to a regular starter at the right back position for Real Salt Lake and now Atlanta United.
"I believe I line up best at left back. Being able to see the whole field and manage the game that's in front of me is a strength of mine. Playing lower on the field allows me to be facing forward most of the time which gives me more opportunities to combine and get forward to create numerical advantages. In the modern game, left back is similar to winger so my 1v1 abilities, as well as my service into the box, allows me to use my strengths more. Defensively, I just need to stay connected with my line and have that mentality of not getting beat one on one and helping players in front of me position themselves so that the team is in good shape."
Collegiately, Drack played at Grand Canyon University from 2017-18 scoring six goals and adding seven assists before transferring to the University of Denver. At Denver, Drack started all 21 matches scoring five goals, and credits his versatility with his experience at the Colorado college.
"I believe my biggest strength will be my leadership, mentality, and versatility. Being at the University of Denver, they have helped me on the mental side of the game as well as the soccer side with my soccer IQ which ultimately helps me with being able to play multiple positions. I hope to solidify myself into a team by just bringing my best self every day which is by working hard and playing any type of role the team needs me to play."
In just a few months from now, Drack will be playing under the bright lights every week, a far cry from the fields at Reach 11 and the Grande Sports World where he won a State Cup in 2017.
"When it comes to growing up and playing in Arizona I take great pride in it. I feel players in Arizona are very underlooked and need to be given more opportunities to play at the next level. Some of the biggest people that have been a part of my journey are David Belfort as well as Nick Markette and Walid Kaakoush. They always saw the potential in me and pushed me when I needed to be pushed and gave me the confidence to keep working hard to succeed further in my soccer journey."
Watch the MLS SuperDraft this Thursday live on mlssoccer.com and Twitter starting at 12:00 PM.
List of Arizona players selected in MLS SuperDraft:
2019 - Don Tchilao | 36th Overall - LA Galaxy
2018 - Niki Jackson |73rd Overall - Colorado Rapids
2014 - George Malki | 37th Overall - Montreal Impact
2012 - Nick DeLeon | 7th Overall - D.C. United
2012 - Tony Cascio | 14th Overall - Colorado Rapids
2010 - Blair Gavin | 10th Overall - Chivas USA
2010 - Justin Davis | 32nd Overall - Real Salt Lake
2010 - Irving Garcia | 50th Overall - New York Red Bulls
2009 - Danny Cruz | 41st Overall - Houston Dynamo
2008 - Brandon McDonald | 46th Overall - LA Galaxy
2008 - Rob Valentino | 13th Overall - New England Revolution
2007 - Brad Evans | 15th Overall - Columbus Crew
2007 - Robbie Findley | 16th Overall - LA Galaxy
2007 - Luis Robles | 50th Overall - D.C United
2004 - Alan Gordon | 53rd Overall - LA Galaxy
1999 - Evan Whitfield | 11th Overall - Chicago Fire
1998 - Pablo Mastroeni | 13th Overall - Miami Fusion
1996 - Derick Brownell | 13th Overall - San Jose Clash
1996 - Greg Vanney | 17th Overall - LA Galaxy