The Montreal Impact has always and is still building around a World or Non-Classical North American model. With a strong will to vertically integrate the club from the bottom-up, big investments in the academy system have been noticeable.
From the integration of the Montreal Impact Academy in the USSDA league (U16 & U18 teams) to the importance of the U21 team, a big focus is put on the capacity of the Academy to be able to produce professional soccer players : Integrating the pro team is the ultimate goal for the Academy.
Is the MLS SuperDraft still relevant for the Montreal Impact?
The debate comes to: Academy Prospects vs NCAA College Players
This is where and when the core and the fiber of the club gets challenged. Where does the balance between Academy and NCAA players start and stop?
In a non Anglo-Saxon soccer managing philosophy, the Montreal Impact will built the team around its vision and not give a coach full carte blanche to get players x, y and z, if it goes against the club's vision. That long-term vision will never tied to one head coach and Marco Schällibaum is not a exception.
But it might be part of Schällibaum's mandate to also help strengthen the structure and framework that will help build in the long-term for the Impact. That includes linking the Academy, drafted players and the pro-team. Having Philippe Eulaffroy (Academy Director) and Youssef Dahha (Academy Goalkeeping Coach) as assistant coaches with the pro team will see that link get stronger and quickly.
The question comes back again: how do you balance between Academy players and NCAA Draftees?
One one side, the club has an Academy system in which it has already invested time and money. On the other side, it cannot fully ignore a pool of potential high quality players coming out of the NCAA system.
2013 MLS SuperDraft Options
With a 8th and 18th pick in the first round of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft (held in Indianapolis, IN) , different avenues are available to the club. Add to that two 2nd round picks in 2013.
It might be an interesting dilemma for the Montreal Impact . Between Academy and NCAA, how much of an impact will MLS drafted players make on the first team now and later?
With needs for international spots in its transfer market strategy, trading picks for international spots and allocation money might be the logical route at this point. Joey Saputo admitted himself , at Marco Schällibaum press conference, that the club is tight in its salary cap. Allocation money is key to a club's competitiveness in MLS and playing with that pool will help Montreal.
With the draft being tagged as pretty even in the 1st round, no big-time player has been tagged as a must have, especially that the Impact is drafting at 8th and 18th. Though, Montreal Impact Sporting Director, Nick De Santis, told TSN's Luke Wileman and Jason Devos that the club will draft at 8th.
"With the 8th pick we hope that we can get a player who can play important minutes." Nick De Santis on TSN FC
Will the Impact trigger a trade if the profile of available players at the 8th spot is not attractive enough? As per specific draft needs, the pool of forwards is pretty deep for this year's draft and I do expect the Impact to go for a forward or attacking midfielder without a doubt..or almost.
Should the Montreal Impact trade out of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft and get allocation money, international spots and/or veteran MLS players?