With only the last pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, Sporting Kansas City had a long wait before they selected Adnan Gabeljic from St. Louis University. Gabeljic was born in Yugoslavia but had emigrated to the United States and now lives in St. Louis. The fact that Gabeljic is from just across the state helped him land on Sporting KC's radar.
"He's from the St. Louis area which is interesting for us," Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes explained after the draft. "We saw him quite a few times and based on all the guys that were available at that point, he seemed like someone that would be a good fit for us long term."
Right off the bat, Gabeljic seems like a Vermes/Sporting KC type of player. He is listed at 6'3" and 200 lbs and at the MLS Combine he was tied for the fastest sprint and 10th on the vertical leap tests.
Vermes even listed Gabeljic ‘s size and strength first when describing his new player. "He's a big powerful forward, technically he's actually pretty good. He's powerful and likes to go at players which is a good thing, he tries to eliminate players one-vs-one. I think he is going to be a handful for guys he is going against for sure. "
This description actually sounds a lot like how Vermes always described a former Sporting KC player who now plays in England. When asked where Gabeljic will best fit, Vermes even invokes that player's name.
"His best position is probably in the middle but he can play all three, he can definitely play out wide, almost like a Kei Kamara type situation," Vermes observed.
In case you were wondering how Gabeljic described himself, well it pretty much echoes his new manager. "I'm a big fast forward who can get the ball and get past people, attack people with the ball and win balls."
As long as Vermes sees the potential in player and they put in the work, he has been very patient with them. Vermes is not sure if Gabeljic will be ready to contribute right away or if it may take some time for him to make the squad.
"Pre-season is really going to tell. It's always interesting to see how these guys are going to adapt and adjust and how fast they do it," Vermes noted. "The good thing is we have a lot of different mechanisms setup, so the guys can develop through what we do every day or even through one of our affiliations."
Couldn't ask for better
For Adnan, being drafted by Sporting KC was just about perfect. Of course he is going to describe the moment his name was called as a great moment much like all the other draft picks in any sport. He quickly commented," It was one of the greatest moments of my life, I couldn't be more excited for this opportunity."
But for Gabeljic, being drafted by the team across state was the icing on the cake.
"I trained with Sporting KC one summer and I watched their games. Obviously I am a Sporting fan since I have been there and it's the closest thing to my home town so I couldn't have asked for a better situation, "Gabeljic stated. "Going into it, that is the team that I hoped I would be called into, makes everything easier and better for me being so close."
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