To kick-off the opening post of the SuperDraft profiles, we will start with University of Louisville midfielder Marlon Hairston. The most recent mock draft from Soccer By Ives has the Chicago Fire picking Hairston in the first round. The one complication with SBI’s mock draft is that Hairston has not officially announced whether or not he intends to leave Louisville for the pros, but rumors are indicating that he will leave early and could potentially become a Generation Addidas player.
Name: Marlon Hairston
College: University of Louisville
Height/Weight: 6'0"/157 lbs.
Hairston has filled a pivotal role with Louisville since he arrived on campus in 2012, appearing in 19 games during his freshman year and 20 games in his sophomore year. Hairston is originally from Jackson, Mississippi, but received a scholarship to attend the IMG Academy in Florida.
This past year has been a big one for Hairston. This past spring, Hairston received a call up to the U.S.National Team’s U-20 squad for the Toulon Tournament in France at the end of May. During the tournament, Hairston got to train and play along side MLS players Wil Trapp, Kellyn Acosta, Mikey Lopez and current Fire player Victor Pineda among others. Hairston was also invited to the June training camp session leading up to this past summer’s U-20 World Cup, but he was not named to the roster for the tournament.
As mentioned above, Hairston is a potential Generation Adidas player. Here is what J.R. Eskilson and Travis Clark wrote about him for TopDrawer Soccer back at the end of November when they ranked the top Generation Addidas candidates:
"A central midfielder who plays deep for the Cardinals, Hairston is a steady prospect who could flourish in the right role at the next level. He’s calm when in possession under pressure, makes very good decisions and is a solid passer. Not only that, he’s not afraid to do some of the dirty work in the middle of the field, something that most MLS coaches value. He can also get forward and jump into the attack when needed, but goals and assists aren’t his primary function for Louisville."
Below is a highlight video of Hairston from his freshman year at Lousville. Playing deep does seem to be Hairston’s specialty. The way Hairston takes care of the ball and distributes it is similar to Kyle Beckerman. Hairston does show some flare for being able to play as an attacking midfielder. The goal he scores around the two and a half minute mark shows a bit of his attacking ability.
Will The Fire Draft Him?
It would be hard to not want a talent like Hairston on the roster. The Fire might find it hard to pass on him if he was available in the first round, especially if he does ink a Generation Addidas contract. If he did end up on the Fire, he would be a player who the Fire could look to build around in the future.
Counter to what Ives stated in his mock draft, the Fire do have more pressing needs than central midfield depth. Hairston would most likely be taken somewhere in the first round of the SuperDraft if he goes pro, and, if Fire were to draft a central midfielder in the first round, it would most likely be an attacking midfielder and not a deep lying, box-to-box style player like Hairston was in college. Could Hairston play an attacking role? From the highlights, it looks like the potential is there, but it is hard to say for sure if he could make the transition.
Thoughts on the possibility of the Fire drafting Marlon Hairston? Please feel free to leave a comment.