Former first round pick, Chance Myers is set to enter his fourth professional season, and his first without the "protection" of a Generation Adidas spot. Myers has had a difficult first three seasons fighting injury and illness that have kept him from getting time. Before the 2010 season he looked poised for a breakout season as a starter. But an injury before the season started saw Kei Kamara take his spot and Kamara went on to be the team's leading scorer, and Myers saw little of the field. It's to the point where there's speculation that he may not even make the roster, and was initially left off the Sporting KC roster on the Star's website due to an oversight. Myers has become a bit of a forgotten player it seems. People have been asking for a few years now, and continue to ask why we drafted Chance Myers in the first place. Let's take a look real quick at the history leading up to the Myers selection.
On January 15th, the Tuesday before MLS' Superdraft, which was on Friday the 18th that year. KC made a trade with San Jose, sending veteran defender Nick Garcia to the expansion side San Jose Earthquakes for the number 1 pick in the draft. Unlike in recent years when there seemed to be a consensus 1-2 players that would go at number 1, there wasn't a whole lot of that. There was no Marvell Wynne, Maurice Edu, Steve Zakuani, or Danny Mwanga to go number 1 like the years before and after the Myers pick. Number 1 pick predictions ranged from Patrick Nyarko, to Eric Avila, to Julius James, to Xavier Balc, to Brek Shea, to Tony Beltran, to Chance Myers, the draft was full of a lot of decent talent that could make an impact. The prediction on who would go number 1 seemed to change daily depending on who you were reading.
Rumors the day of the draft started to float out that KC was going to take UCLA right back, Chance Myers would be the number one selection. The speculation turned out to be true that KC took the Generation Adidas player. People want to complain about the first round pick now and throw out suggestions of Shea, or Sean Franklin.
As I stated above, though, there was no consensus number one pick. Shea at the time was an incredibly raw 17 year old at the time of the draft. Franklin had a solid but not spectacular college career at Cal State Northridge. The rest of the players selected between Myers and 11th pick Roger Espinoza have had solid but not spectacular pro careers. Tony Beltran has been an off and on starter for RSL, Ciaran O'Brien made a grad total of 1 appearance for Colorado in 3 years. Andy Iro has been solid and become a starter for Columbus, but at the time of the draft there were rumors he was looking to return to England and play instead of signing for MLS, which hurt his stock. Patrick Nyarko was who I'd originally thought we'd take with the number one pick, I'd put him in the same group as Beltran, a solid but not spectacular pro career. Josh Lambo has yet to make an appearance for Dallas. Julius James had been solid for Toronto, Houston, and DC, but was recently waived by United. Pat Phelan is another that falls in with Beltran and Nyarko, solid but unspectacular pros that don't appear to be worth the number 1 pick.
As the above shows, there are a few players (Shea and Franklin) that with a revisionist view of history would have been a better number 1 selection than Myers but there's no guarantee Shea and Franklin would have developed like they did here. The rest of the picks have ranged from solid pros (Beltran, Iro, Nyarko, James, and Phelan) to total busts (O'Brien and Lambo). So overall the selection of Myers doesn't look as bad in comparison.
Now let's take a look at Nick Garcia's career since the trade. In 2008 and 2009 he started for the Earthquakes as they both seasons finished at the bottom of the Western Conference. In the middle of the 2009 season, Garcia was traded to Toronto. The rest of the 2009 season he started quite a bit for Toronto. In the 2010 season, Garcia went in and out of the lineup for Toronto. After the season he was put into the re-entry draft, but was not selected, and is currently without a club. His level of play has dropped since he's left KC, he's not the same defender he was, he doesn't have the speed he used to have and now relies a bit more on physicality. KC was at a point where they needed to replace at least one of their starting defenders, both Garcia and Jimmy Conrad were getting older and they needed a partner with a little more speed to cover with their experience.
So while the Myers pick may not have been a great selection for KC, there wasn't exactly a can't miss prospect in the class that has since gone on to become a star player. On the other side, Garcia hasn't exactly come back to prove that KC was wrong for getting rid of him. So while I don't consider myself a huge Chance Myers fan, there's not a lot to argue with about the selection when you really break it down.