Former Bowling Green midfielder Ryan James joined the growing number of players from the MAC to be drafted into MLS on Tuesday after he was taken with the 52nd overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft.
James joined Richie Laryea as a draft pick in this years draft and joins former Akron player Saad Abdul-Salaam in Kansas City for next season.
Sporting KC's choice to choose James is an interesting one, as Bowling Green was the worst team in the MAC this season and Sporting hardly needs new blood in its midfield. The team has 13 listed midfielders, including names like MVP candidate Benny Feilhaber, USMNT rotation player Graham Zusi and newly acquired Brad Davis.
Sporting play a classic 4-3-3 and fighting for a spot among those midfielders for a spot might prove tough, it took Abdul-Salaam almost a full season to break into the lineup after being loaned to the NASL's San Antonio Scorpions, being recalled after about two months and then taking advantage of a rash of injuries to take his chance.
Abdul-Salaam should be a good compass for James to base his career on. Abdul-Salaam used his ability to play anywhere on the field — and a bit of luck — to break into the squad and ultimately took a famous penalty for Sporting KC in the playoffs last season against the Portland Timbers.
If James is to follow the same path, he will need to prove his worth early, maybe except a loan move to get more playing time and be ready when Peter Vermes calls his name.