It was an eventful offseason for several MLS players with ties to metro Atlanta and Georgia.
The headlining move may have been Chris Klute moving from Colorado, where he was a mainstay in defense the past two years, to Columbus.
Klute, a former player for the Silverbacks and Clayton State, amassed more than 2,100 minutes with the Rapids last year, using his speed to lead them in crosses from open play (51) and tackles won (67).
But the Rapids traded him to move up in the draft and to acquire a “significant amount” of allocation money.
The next biggest move may have been NYCFC signing Kwadwo Poku from the Silverbacks. The move itself wasn’t the big news – there have been lots of Silverbacks who have moved to MLS – it’s NYCFC’s statement that Poku has the potential to one day play for Manchester City. Manchester and NYCFC share the same ownership group, with City seen as the parent club by some soccer pundits.
Two other players also moved to MLS through the SuperDraft: Forward Andy Craven to Seattle and goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton to Los Angeles.
Craven, a St. Simon’s native, was expected to be a first-round pick, but instead lasted until the third round. He scored 15 goals for the Tar Heels last year. Playing time may be hard to come by for Craven because Seattle already has Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins, among others.
Wolverton, a St. Pius grad, was picked by the Galaxy in the fourth round after starting 19 matches for Penn State last year.
While several players were joining, or moving around, the league, others were leaving.
Michael Nwiloh became the first Georgia State men’s soccer player to be drafted when Chivas USA picked him in the fourth round of last year’s SuperDraft. Nwiloh, a defender, barely played with the first team and Chivas USA’s dissolution following the 2014 season left him without a team. He has yet to sign with another club.
Goalkeeper Joe Nasco was traded from Colorado to New England. However, the former Silverback is now with Fort Lauderdale in the NASL.
Midfielder Alex Caskey left D.C. United after the club didn’t pick up the option on his contract. Caskey made six appearances last year.
Defender Steven Kinney left Chicago, which didn’t pick up the option on his contract. He played in two games for the Fire last year as part of 17 appearances in five years. After sustaining several injuries during his career, Kinney is pursuing other opportunities in Chicago. Goalkeepers Sean Johnson and Alec Kann, metro Atlanta natives, remained with Chicago.
Here’s a list of players (and twitter handles) with ties to the state who are in MLS. The 2015 season is scheduled to begin March 6:
Joe Bendik (@jtbendik), Toronto, GK, Kennesaw
Mark Bloom (@markbloom21), Toronto, D, Marietta
Ricardo Clark (@RicoC13), Houston, M, Jonesboro
Andy Craven (@andymcraven), Seattle, F, St. Simons
Warren Creavalle (@warrenspeak), Toronto, D, Acworth
Sean Johnson (@sjohn25), Chicago, GK, Snellville
Alec Kann (@akann90), Chicago, GK, Decatur
Chris Klute (@chrisklute), Columbus, D, Silverbacks, Clayton State
Jack McInerney (@jackmcinerney9), Montreal, F, Alpharetta
Kwadwo Poku, NYCFC, M/F, Silverbacks
Andrew Wolverton (@a_wolvie), Los Angeles, G, Atlanta
Walker Zimmerman (@thewalkerzim), Dallas, D, Lawrenceville