Wynne’s take? “It’s all surreal.” Just a year ago, he was a highly regarded prospect just finding his way onto the U.S. under-20 national team, but his stock skyrocketed following a superb World Youth Championship performance last summer in the Netherlands and an All-America campaign for UCLA. CARSON – Marvell Wynne had time to reflect on the past year and think about what the future holds as he headed to Philadelphia for today’s Major League Soccer SuperDraft. The 19-year-old defender, who emerged as one of the world’s most coveted outside backs, chose to forgo his junior and senior seasons at UCLA, resisted several tempting offers from European clubs, signed a developmental contract with MLS and now finds himself as the odds-on favorite to be taken first during this afternoon’s festivities. “The thing people realize,” said UCLA coach Jorge Salcedo, a former MLS midfielder, “is that his level of play will increase on th a weekly basis. … He doesn’t get overwhelmed by his environment, and his athleticism and his pace makes up for the little nuances of the game that he still needs to develop.” Said Yorks: “I think the sky’s the limit. I haven’t seen personally an athlete as good as him come through, so now it’s getting to the next environment, MLS, and seeing where the game takes him.” Wynne came out of Poway High, near San Diego, and into a starting role at UCLA, and he opened eyes with his performance last summer with the U.S. U-20s. He assisted the lone U.S. goal in an opening-round victory over tournament champion Argentina and was pivotal on a U.S. defense that shutout all three opponents in group play. Clubs from Germany, Holland, France and Belgium expressed interest, and Belgian powerhouse RSC Anderlecht offered a guaranteed contract. Wynne balked. “Marvell, he’s American through and through,” Salcedo said. “And what I mean by that is if you talk to him about the world game, he’s not too knowledgeable and savvy about what goes on over there. So that tells me that maybe this is the right spot for him.” Wynne tried his father’s sport as a child but “didn’t like it” because it was “too slow.” The senior Wynne, an outfielder for San Diego, Pittsburgh and the Chicago Cubs, provided plenty of support. “He told me to just go for it. Have fun,” Wynne said. “This is your life … this is your living now. You have to stay focused and go out there and do your best.” Talk that he’ll get his chance with Chivas excites Wynne, who trained with the club on several occasions while with the U-20s. “That would be really comfortable,” he said. “Being from UCLA, I could possibly stay in my own apartment. … It would be great. I would feel right at home.” There is still some skepticism about becoming a professional. And Wynne will readily admit that’s he’s slightly intimidated. He has had the benefit from talking with some former UCLA players who have gone onto MLS careers, including Chicago’s Chad Barrett and Leonard Griffin and Galaxy forward Mike Enfield. “They all told me it’s like going from high school to college,” Wynne said. “There’s going to be some jitters early on, but once you get into the flow of it … you just play your game.” Sean Ceglinsky, (818) 713-3607 firstname.lastname@example.org MLS SUPERDRAFT Area players available in MLS’s draft today in Philadelphia: Name, Pos., School Will Beard M CS Northridge Ivan Becerra F UC Santa Barbara San Fernando HS, Mission College Jonathan Bornstein F UCLA Evan Corey F UCLA L.A. Baptist HS Alec de Mattos F CS Northridge Chaminade HS Gianni Facio M CS Northridge El Camino Real HS Zach Feldman M CA Northridge El Camino Real HS Jordan Harvey D UCLA Patrick Ianni D/M UCLA Yura Movsisyan F Pasadena CC Daniel Paladini M CS Northridge St. Francis HS Willie Sims F CS Northridge Ryan Valdez M UCLA Marvell Wynne D UCLA 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card Chivas USA, preparing for its second season at Home Depot Center, owns the top pick, and all signs are – unless a trade offer too good to refuse is made – that it’ll use it on Wynne. “Most people would say he’s the likely No. 1 pick, and he’s earned that,” Chivas USA coach Bob Bradley said. “He’s obviously a special kind of athlete. And when you talk about somebody who can adjust and play right away, his athletic qualities allow him to do that.” Bradley says he’s received several offers for the selection, and draft-eve talk had the former Chicago Fire and MetroStars coach ready to deal for two of his former players: midfielder Jesse Marsch and former UCLA forward Ante Razov. “You never know until draft day,” said Lyle Yorks, Wynne’s agent. “There could be trades, but at this point, word on the street, speculation, is he’ll be No. 1 for Chivas.” Wynne, the son of former major-league baseball star Marvell Wynne, possesses spectacular speed and athleticism, and he’s addressing his technical deficiencies.
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