The 2013 Supporters’ Shield-winning New York Red Bulls had two second round picks in Thursday’s 2014 MLS SuperDraft, selecting defender Chris Duvall from Wake Forest University (22nd overall) and midfielder Eric Stevenson from the University of Akron (34th overall).
After the draft, Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke spoke about the team’s draft strategy and what Duvall and Stevenson could potentially bring to the team. At this year’s MLS SuperDraft, the Red Bulls used a strategy similar to the one used at last year’s draft when they selected Ian Christianson with their sole second round selection (22nd overall). Christianson, as well as midfielder Michael Bustamante (selected in the third round), are still on the Red Bulls roster.
“We had a list of players that we pretty much cancelled out, the GA’s (Generation adidas players) that we knew would be gone, and we had a list of players that we thought possibly, a long shot, would make it through to the 22nd pick. Then we had a certain group of players that we were sure would fall through,” Petke said. “We’ve really tried to create something over the last year of character and a personality of the team, and that’s first and foremost.”
Petke believes that Duvall and Stevenson can potentially fit in a currently deep roster and that they are good “characters.”
Duvall, a defender, mainly played at right back during his four seasons at Wake Forest. In 2013, he appeared in 14 games for Wake Forest and recorded three assists. During his junior year, Duvall played more minutes than any other player on the Wake Forest roster. He recorded 1,637 minutes on the field while adding one goal and three assists.
“To be honest with you, a guy that we weren’t certain would fall, Chris Duvall, fell through and we’re very happy to have him. We had a need at right back and we felt that he had a very good combine. Great up and down the wing, good one on one defending and it’s up to him now in preseason. We’re happy to have him and he’s going to show us now what he’s got,” said Petke. “He’s a great character, we talked to a lot of people, his college coach, and he’s a good character.”
During the 2013 season, Stevenson played in 22 games, making 21 starts for Akron. He finished the season with five goals and five assists. Stevenson was also an All-Great Lakes Region Third Team honoree and also earned All-MAC First Team honors. In 2012, he was named to the All-MAC Second Team after starting all 22 matches for Akron. Stevenson enjoyed a breakout season, scoring seven goals, recording five assists, and finishing third on the team in points with 19.
“The scouting department has watched him play and they like what they saw. He comes from a very good program in Akron so he knows how to play the game,” Petke said.