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2014 FBM Super “Draft”

Hello and welcome to the 2014 Free Beer Movement Super “Draft” in sunny (it’s always sunny here, right?) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

I'm Mr. Boh, your host for this great event.

Today we present the nation’s best young talent alongside beers from their college towns (or as close as possible). Meticulous research went along with each pairing. Some are spot on combining a beer style, its flavors, or ingridients with the qualities of each player drafted by their Major League Soccer side. Others are a bit of a stretch, but we hope that you'll follow our logic.

Most importantly we want to leave you with a deeper knowledge of these new kids entering our American league AND perhaps learn about a few new breweries/ beers to check out

This is the third annual FBM Super “Draft” and we’re pleased to have you along.

1. Philadelphia Union – GK: Andre Blake (Connecticut)

Paired with New England Brewing Company’s “Ghandi-Bot” Double India Pale Ale (New Haven, CT)

The Zac MacMath-era came to a close in Philly when the Union traded up for Blake and took the first goalkeeper ever as the first pick of the first round. First.

Scouts rated this Jamaica-native and UConn graduate as a strong leader and called him “a great shot-stopper, bouncy”. Sounds like the same strong and hoppy qualities that make NEBC’s Double IPA one of the jewels of the East Coast take on a West Coast IPA. “Ghandi-Bot” is no Heady Topper or Hill Farmstead from neighboring Vermont just like Blake is no Donovan Ricketts (2013’s Major League Soccer Goalkeeper of the Year) yet either.

But if you can get your hands on it (unlike MacMath’s gloves last year… we kid… kinda) you won’t be disappointed.

2. D.C. United – Defender: Steve Birnbaum (California)

Paired with 21st Amendment Brewery’s "Sneak Attack" Saison (San Francisco, CA)

Birnbaum is hailed as "close to a complete player as you can get in a Draft" and "the most polished, MLS-ready player available for selection". High praise for the MAC Herman Trophy semi-finalist and NSCAA First Team All-American. D.C. United can use all the help it can get at the back since they gave up an Eastern Conference-worst 59 goals in 2013 (second only to ChivasUSA's 67 in MLS).

While Birnbaum's defensive credentials are unquestioned his 10 goals in 19 matches make him an threat on both sides of the ball. He's even been compared to the U.S national team's Geoff Cameron who is sneakily producing one of the best seasons for any American abroad with Stoke City.

"Sneak Attack" indeed.

3. Vancouver Whitecaps – Defender: Christian Dean (California)

Paired with Anchor Brewing Company's "Anchor Steam" California Common (San Francisco, CA)

Cal had a blockbuster 2013 Super "Draft" sending three players to MLS sides in the first round including Dean as the second in the top five. MLS clubs are definitely looking to shore up their last line of defensive with four of the five first picks of the draft as goalkeepers or defenders.

Dean isn't as highly touted as Brinbaum but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a lot to offer. While 21st Amendment gets heaps of praise Anchor quietly chugs along as one of the original craft breweries in the United States. There's little flashy about Dean or "Anchor Steam" but that doesn't mean their not both well-built and ready for the big leagues. Working alongside veteran Jay DeMerit will be a boon to young Dean's growth just like dozens of other craft brewers have learned from the survival and success of Anchor.

4. New England Revolution – Midfielder/Forward: Steve Neumann (Georgetown)

Paired with 3 Stars Brewing Company’s "The Movement" Pale Ale (Washington, D.C.)

Did you really think we were going to let a beer pass by called "the Movement" and not feature it here on FBM? Perhaps the thought never crossed your mind and we're just having this conversation with ourselves?

That seems the most likely.

We didn't just choose this pale ale brewed with Centennial and Cascade hops to scratch our own backs. Coaches at the MLS Combine said, "he's so smooth and efficient with his movement". 

So that totally justifies our choice. There!

5. Impact Montreal – Defender: Eric Miller (Creighton)

Paired with Lucky Bucket Brewing Company's "Heartland" Wheat Ale (La Vista, NE)

Apparently the American Outlaws and forgotten nuclear missle silos aren't the only good thing to have come out of Nebraska. Come to think of it there's lots of nice things about Nebraska.... we're sure....

Lucky Bucket is one of those other good things we eventually got around to thinking about when we put our good-things-about-Nebraska-thinking-hats on.

Miller is a "a really fit player; he can run forever" and "versatile". Good qualities in a player and a beer. LB's wheat beer, like a lot of solid wheat ales are sessionable (you can drink them forever) and great on a hot summer day, but also nice when the weather is crisp out ("versatile").

6. FC Dallas – Forward: Tesho Akindele (Colorado School of Mines)

Paired with Coors Brewing Company’s “Blue Moon” Belgian White Ale (Golden, CO)

FC Dallas talked Monday about how excited they were to try and get their hands on Akindele that they traded up to get him in the draft. 

CSM shares Golden, Colorado with the largest single brewery facility in the world, Coors home to "Blue Moon".

Coaches and scouts have some reservations about Akindele's workrate, but 22 goals last season and 76 in his career for the Division II Orediggers should say enough about that.

Blue Moon isn't without its critics as well. Say what you will about the merits of Blue Moon (and its "crafty" nature) it's a solid Belgian White that is a trade up for anyone starting a journey from macro-lagers toward full-bodied, full-flavored beers of the craft world. It's often called a good "gateway beer". FC Dallas is hoping that Tesho is a gateway to the playoffs they missed out on last season.

One player. One beer. Two with a whole lot to prove.

7. Vancouver Whitecaps – Midfielder: Andrew Lewis (Jamaica)

Paired with Red Stripe

It pains us to have to resort to stereotypes. We LOVE puns and stereotypes are just hurtful, but…. we’ve got no choice.

Lewis featured for both the U-17 and U-20 Jamaica national teams. He was called up to the full side in 2012 and is considered on of the Reggae Boyz most promising young players. 

Hooray Lewis!

8. Seattle Sounders – Defender: Damion Lowe (Hartford)

Paired with City Steam Brewing Company’s Black Silk Stout (Hartford, CT)

Lowe is the third of three Jamaicans taken in the first round of the Super "Draft". Last year Damion lead Hartford to a 0.84 Goals Against Average (the best in the school's history) and featured in a Reading United side (United Soccer League's Professional Development League) to a division-leading allowed just 12 goals in 14 matches.

Pretty stout if you ask us.

9. San Jose Earthquakes – Midfielder: JJ Koval (Stanford)

Paired with Palo Alto Brewing Company’s “Hoppy Ending” Pale Ale (Palo Alto, CA)

The California native hasn't had to go for from home to college ball to the pros and why should he have to for a beer either? 

Palo Alto's pale ale is traditional West Coast-style so Koval will feel right at home.

Koval's professional soccer journey certainly has a "hoppy ending".

10. Toronto FC – Defender: Nick Hagglund (Xavier)

Paired with Fifty West Brewing Company "Our Mom's Advice" Belgian Tripel (Cincinnati, OH)

We're you just as surprised as us that Toronto made a pick on "draft" day? We pretty much assumed their were just going to trot out Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley and call it a day. 

They still have money left? Sheesh.

Hagglund is described as a "monster" to deal with. Sounds terrifying, but one coach said, "the most important thing for Hagglund to do is maybe develop an ego, which he's somehow managed to avoid despite his athletic gifts. "He needs to realize he belongs in MLS," one coach says. "I don't think he realizes how good he is."

Our Mom's Advice (never one to sugar coat anything)? Grow some balls... quick.

11. New England Revolution – Forward: Patrick Mullins (Maryland)

Paired with Stillwater Artisanal Ales "Stateside" Saison (Baltimore, MD)

Mullins led the Terrapins to the NCAA College Cup championship final wih 19 goals and eight assists in the regular season, followed by five goals and two assists in the postseason … lead his team in goals, assists, points, shots and shots on goal, and finished his career in College Park with 47 goals and 25 assists over four years. In 2012 he was the MAC Herman Trophy winner for the nation's best male college player.

Stillwater was named Maryland's best craft brewery by Thrillist so it makes sense that they're paired with the state's best soccer player as well. With the departure of Juan Agudelo to Utrecht in the Netherlands the Revs are going to need a striker ready to make an immediate impact on the field. 

Agudelo couldn't wait to bail on New England and MLS, but Mullins is ready to make his impact stateside where Agudelo wasn't willing to.

12. Colorado Rapids – Midfielder: Marlon Hairston (Louisville)

Paired with Against the Grain's "Citra Ass Down" India Pale Ale (Louisville, KY)

You've probably caught on by now that we've been cribbing quite liberally from MLSSoccer.com's coverage of their SuperDraft. Why not? They were there and we weren't.

One of the coaches at the combine said, "With his (Hairston's) skill on the ball, he can create a yard of space for himself to shoot or pass the ball, but can also glide by defenders."

For no reason other than its cool-ass name we went with AtG's "Citra Ass Down". We've heard great things about the L-ville brewery, but have yet to check it out ourselves yet. RateBeer seems to like it just fine giving it a 94.

We'd like to think that when Marlon reads this column.. because OF COURSE HE DOES... he'll "glide" past one of those defenders and exclaim "Citra Ass Down!".

It'd be a pretty cool story.

13. Chicago Fire – Defender: Marco Franco (UC Irvine)

Paired with The Bruery’s "Mischief" Belgian-Style Golden Strong Ale (Placentia, CA)

"Has no major weakness. Good and solid in all areas."

The Bruery in the OC has been cranking out amazing Belgian-inspired beers since 2008. How good?

We're really not sure if the above sentence is describing Franco or The Bruery. 

That a compliment to both as Franco is poised to make a big splash in MLS and if you haven't tried anything from The Bruery; get your hands on some right away.

14. Columbus Crew – Defender: Ben Sweat (South Florida)

Paired with Cigar City Brewing’s “Guava Grove” Farmhouse Ale (Tampa, FL)

You don’t know how bad we wanted Ben to come from the University of Kansas (or at least that the Crew got this pick position for Sporting KC) so we could choose Tallgrass Brewing Company’s “Buffalo Sweat” Stout, but alas…. We’re stuck with Florida and it’s a relative craft beer desert.

Luckily Sweat played for South Florida in Tampa, which happens to be the home of Cigar City Brewing, one of Florida’s, and craft beer’s, brightest stars. No Bull.

New Crew coach Gregg Berhalter described Sweat as a "quality guy for years to come" and the same could be said for Cigar City and their future on the craft beer scene.

15. Philadelphia Union – Midfielder: Pedro Ribeiro (Coastal Carolina)

Paired with Westbrook Brewing Company’s "Mexican Cake" Imperial Stout (Mount Pleasant, SC)

Just a hour and a half’s drive down coastal South Carolina from Conway is the Palmetto State’s finest craft brewery.

Brazil (Ribeiro's home country) > Mexico (cake) < MURICA. 'Nuff said. It's just a damn good beer.

16. Houston Dynamo – Defender: A.J. Cochran (Wisconsin)

Paired with New Glarus Brewing Company’s “Spotted Cow” Naturally Cloudy Farmhouse Ale (New Glarus, WI)

Yes! Wisconsin! For three years we’ve waited for a draft pick out FBM’s home state of Wisco and today’s the day. While we now settled in the Lone Star State we’re always drooling over the amazing craft beers that the Dairy State and the surrounding Midwest crank out.

A.J.’s signing with the Houston Dynamo is pretty symbolic of the WI to TX connection we’ve got here at FBM HQ in Austin.

If you’re a Wisconsin native then our pick for Mr. Cochran won’t come as a surprise.

17. Portland Timbers – Forward: Schillo Tshuma (Maryland)

Paired with Franklin's Brewery (Hyattsville, MD)

We admit it. We went straight to Baltimore instead of hanging around in College Park to look for breweries. It was easiest. But we're back!

And we're at a restaurant, brewery, AND general store. We bet you could even lasso your horse to the front of the place if you like.

The Timbers hope that Tshuma is multi-faceted as his college town brewery is.

18. Real Salt Lake – Defender: Ryan Neil (California)

Paired with 21st Amendment Brewery’s “Bitter American” Session Pale Ale (San Francisco, CA)

When you’re the third defensive back to be drafted in the first round from the same school you’ve got to be doing something right. The same could be said of our third pairing with 21st Amendment.

Certainly there’s going to be some razing between Cal’s three defenders, but hopefully Neil isn’t too bitter about going later in the draft that second and third picks Birnbaum and Dean.

19. Colorado Rapids – Defender: Grant Van De Casteele (Norte Dame)

Paired with Brasseire Rochefort (Rochefort, Belgium)

We’re cheating a little bit here, but South Bend’s only craft brewery Four Horsemen (named in honor of the famed backfield from Notre Dame’s 1924 football team) closed in early 2013 so we’re going to go big or go home.

Located inside of Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy is Rochefort Brewery, one of nine (now ten) Trappist breweries in the world, makers of Rochefort 6, 8, and 10.

Van De Casteele probably won't become as world-class as Rochefort, but it's the end of the article and who really cares?

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Tags: Beer, Major League Soccer, satire, The Best of Both Worlds

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