Minnesotan Jackson Yueill is among the top prospects available in Friday’s MLS SuperDraft.
The Bloomington Jefferson product and UCLA midfielder is a potential top-five pick and touted by many draft analysts as one of the top 10 players in this year’s class. Minnesota United owns the No. 1 overall pick in the draft scheduled to start at 2 p.m.
Opinions on Yueill vary after the MLS combine this past week, but the majority of scouts agree he is “tidy on the ball and adapted to what the games dictated,” making him a desirable prospect, ESPN soccer writer Jeff Carlise wrote.
In the latest MLS.com mock draft, Yueill was picked fifth overall by the Columbus Crew SC.
The MLS scouting report says Yueill is “very two-footed and has the ability to both close the game down defensively or break it open with his vision, and he’s not afraid of getting into the box, either. I think he’d make a useful understudy for Federico Higuain even though he isn’t what most people would consider to be a classic No. 10”
Scouts have been impressed by Yueill’s success in international competition as a regular starter and member of the U.S. U-18 and U-20 teams. He was also one of the best players in college soccer the past two seasons as a two-time All-Far West First Team and All-Pac 12 First Team selection.
One scout said “The good thing with him is he finds great space between the lines and he’s always looking forward. His first touch is always positive and he’s always – it’s not like he’s looking to play backwards or sideways – any time he finds space between the lines, he’s always looking to administrate the ball forward, and I think that’s his biggest strength.”
Yueill started his high school soccer career at Bloomington Jefferson before joining the Minnesota Thunder Academy.
He became one of the top players in the state playing alongside Mukwelle Akale. Yueill committed to UCLA where he could gain more exposure to scouts and mature before turning pro.
“I really think that for me, college was a great choice,” Yueill told Fifty Five One. “It’s helped me mature and understand the game better from a leadership role. I think overall it helped my confidence. That might have been the biggest part of the year for me. You’re stepping into a new team where you are the youngest guy which is hard at first. But the coaches believed in me. Even if I did something wrong they’d keep pushing me, kept playing me. As the season progressed my confidence really grew. It’s helped me mature and understand the game better from a leadership role. That definitely helped me mature more, as a player but also as a person.”
Yueill planned to make the jump to professional soccer as soon as possible and after two standout seasons at UCLA, he’s a top prospect in Friday’s SuperDraft.
“Since I’ve been a child I’ve dreamed of playing professionally,” Yueill said. “Given the opportunity, I’d definitely have to take it.”
Yueill has trained with United and the club is impressed by the homegrown talent.
United director Manny Lagos said Yueill is “really one of the better up and coming American players, particularly central or even wide at midfield. He’s had a couple of really good years with the youth national team setups and he had a great year at UCLA. We are certainly excited when we see a local player going out there, playing well and considering staring his pro career.”