BY DAN STICKRADT
WEB AND CONTENT EDITOR
NEW YORK – A total of eight soccer players with Michigan ties were selected Tuesday in the 2023 Major League Soccer SuperDraft.
The annual event was hosted at the MLS Season Pass Studios.
A total of 87 picks were selected – 29 in each of the three rounds – with various in-state and out-of-state college players, players who prepped, played club or MLS Next Academy in Michigan, or competed in the USL League 2 inside the Great Lake State during the spring and summer months amongst the honorees.
For the first time, seniors, juniors and sophomores were eligible for the draft.
Eight other players with Michigan ties that were amongst the 350-plus standouts up on the board did not get drafted.
GET YOUR MSN GEAR NOW
HUGO BACHARACH, Indiana University sr. CB/M (formerly from Fairleigh Dickinson University; USL League 2 Flint City Bucks): After being a standout at Fairleigh Dickinson University for his first three years, Bacharach transferred to Indiana and helped the Hoosiers to both regular season and tournament championships in the Big 10 before helping his team reach the NCAA Division I Elite Eight. A mid-season move from center back to the midfield helped 6-foot-4, 210-pound Bacharach elevate his game enough to being selected ninth overall by Minnesota United. Although only making the All-Big Ten Second Team, Bacharach recorded four goals and four assists for 12 points and earned Top Drawer Soccer All-America Third Team amongst numerous postseason accolades. Previously, Bacharach was a three-time All-Northeast Conference First Team choice at FDU. The versatile Bacharach also starred with the Flint City Bucks the last two years and helping that side reach the USL League 2 North American semifinals the last two years.
JASON SHOKALOOK, University of Akron jr. F (Flint City Bucks; Internationals Academy): With Akron making a move to the Big East for men’s soccer only, Shokalook took his scoring prowess to another level in 2023 which also led him to be chosen sixth in the second round and 35th overall by the Chicago Fire FC. The 6-1, 160-pound striker finished in the top 10 in the NACAA Division I in scoring, lighting up the scoreboards for 14 goals, five assists and 33 points while starting all 17 games for the Zips. He was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year and All-Big East First Team in 2023. He was also selected to the United Soccer Coaches All-America Second Team this year. As a sophomore when Akron was still in the Mid-American Conference for men’s soccer, Shokalook earned All-MAC First Team accolades and led his team in scoring. Shokalook spent his latter days of high school competing for Internationals Academy in the United States Development Academy/MLS Next circles. Over the past two summers, Shokalook spent time competing for the Flint City Bucks, which were again one of the top USL League 2 franchises in North America.
MALIK HENRY, University of Akron sr. RB/M (Flint City Bucks; Toronto FC MLS Next Academy): The 5-7, 140-pound versatile Henry played all over the field during his career and his all-around ability and lightning-quick speed led him to being selected 10th in the second round and 39th overall. On the pitch this past fall, Henry notched four assists playing a ton of time in the Zips’ backfield and earned All-Big East Second Team status. Henry spent three seasons at Akron and made All-MAC First Team as a junior and All-MAC Second Team as a sophomore. He spent one season at the University of North Carolina before transferring to Akron. Henry is one of several standout college players who have also shined for the Flint City Bucks of the USL League 2 and aided the Bucks’ run to the North American semifinals the past two summers. The Hamilton, Ontario, native was also a standout with the Toronto FC MLS Next Academy.
ETHAN BRANDT, Western Michigan University sr. G (Torrance, Calif., West High School): Brandt was a backbone of Western Michigan’s run to the NCAA Division I Sweet 16 each of the past two years and his stock rose enough for him to be drafted 17th in the second round and 46th overall by the L.A. Galaxy. Brand t was 17-2-3 in goal for the Broncos this past fall and the second loss was a shootout defeat by eventual national runner-up Notre Dame. Brandt saves is best for 2023, where he started all 22 games for WMU, played in 2,017 minutes, allowed 16 goals, posted 10 shutouts, a 0.71 goals-against-average and an .812 save percentage while making 69 saves and facing 85 shots on frame. The All-Missouri Valley Conference First Team selection also was tabbed as the Goalkeeper of the Year honors for the regular season and MVC Tournament champion Broncos.
AIDAN O’CONNOR, University of Virginia sr. CB (formerly Western Michigan University / Midwest United FC / Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern High School): The former Michigan Mr. Soccer and two-time Michigan Parade Player of the Year played two seasons at WMU and two more at Virginia, which originally recruited the 6-4, 215-pound center back out of high school. Fast forward four years and O’Connor was selected 12th overall by the New York Red Bulls as one of the nation’s top collegiate defensive players. After playing in 15 games with nine starts with Western Michigan, O’Connor was a defensive stalwart with the Cavaliers in the 2022 and 2023 campaigns. This past season, O’Connor played and started in all 17 games, O’Connor had one goal to earned CPC All-District honors. He helped the Cavaliers to an 11-4-4 record and a second-round of the NCAA Division I College Cup. O’Connor spent the summer months competing for Minnesota United FC of the USL League 2.
PALMER AULT, Butler soph. M/F (Indy 11 MLS Next Academy; Noblesville High School; Flint City Bucks): Ault’s quick journey to the being a draftee ended when he was selected fifth in the second round and 34th overall by the Colorado Rapids after only two seasons of college ball. Ault earned All-Big East Second Team honors this fall after earning All-Big East Freshman Team honors in 2022. He finished with a team-best six goals, seventh-best in the Big East, and 12 points. While growing up in nearby Noblesville, Ind., Ault led Noblesville High School to the 2021 Class 3A state title, was a three-time All-State First Team choice and was also selected Indiana’s Mr. Soccer for 2021. He finished up high school playing with the Indy 11 MLS Next Academy. Last summer, Ault also played in several games with the Flint City Bucks, helping them reach the USL League 2 North American semifinals.
JONATHAN ROBINSON, Western Michigan University sr. D (Flint City Bucks; formerly from Marquette University): One of five Broncos selected to the All-Missouri Valley Conference First Team, Robinson was a bit of an anomaly in the backfield and his versatility surely played a hand into him being selected 22nd in the third round and 80th overall by Sporting KC. Deploying great speed and attacking ability out of the backfield, Robinson ranked well inside the top 50 overall this fall in NCAA Division I assists with 13, which tied a single-season school record for Western Michigan. He also was a stalwart defender that aided 10 shutouts and a second straight trip to the NCAA Division I Sweet 16. The two-year starter from Warren Township (Ill.) Gurnee High School played in 27 games over two seasons at Marquette. As a prep senior, he competed for the Chicago Magic PSG Academy. Robinson was also a two-year starter for the Flint City Bucks, helping them capture divisional and conference titles and reach the USL League 2 Final Four in both 2022 and 2023.
CARSON HODGSON, Western Michigan University soph. M/F (Nationals; New Baltimore Anchor Bay High School): Just two years ago, one half of the Hodgson twins (Tanner is the other) was lighting up scoreboards at Anchor Bay High School northeast of Detroit for four seasons and led the Tars to the MHSAA Division 1 state runner-up trophy in 2021. The gifted playmaker earned All-State Dream Team that fall before signing with WMU. The former Nationals club standout, who excelled on the ECNL circuit, had two productive seasons with the Broncos and was one of just a handful of sophomore prospects drafted this year. After earning All-Mid American Conference Freshman Team honors in 2022, Hodgson had a breakthrough campaign for the Broncos in 2023 which led him to be selected 28th in the third round and 86th overall of 87 total choices this year. He played and started in all 22 games for 17-2-4 Broncos, notching six goals, 10 assists and 22 total points. The 10 assists ranked well inside the top 50 nationally in NCAA Division I. This past year Hodgson was All-Missouri Valley Conference Second Team.
OTHER PLAYERS WITH MICHIGAN TIES THAT WENT UNDRAFTED:
Bryce Blevins, University of Michigan sr. AM (MLS Next Academy with Michigan United FC)
Brennan Creek, Kentucky sr. CM/F (formerly from Western Michigan University / Kalamazoo Kingdom / Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep)
Mark Fisher, Stanford sr. CM (Michigan Wolves MLS Next Academy; Grand Blanc)
Zac Kelly, Michigan State University redshirt soph. G (Holt High School / Michigan Jaguars)
Daniel Mangarov, Virginia sr. F (Midwest United MLS Next Academy)
Quin Rogers, University of Michigan sr. CM (Baltimore Armor MLS Next Academy)
Reid Sproat, Sand Diego State sr. RCB (formerly from Oakland University; Auburn, Ind., Leo)
Jonathan Stout, Michigan State University soph. F (Midwest United FC; Wyoming Potter’s House Christian)