CHICAGO — Camden Riley is ready to go wherever he is needed.
Sporting Kansas City’s second-round pick in Friday’s MLS SuperDraft, a midfielder out of the University of Pacific, can play as a midfielder, defensive midfielder, right back, and center back, a versatility head coach Peter Vermes has emphasized in players he was eyeing leading up to the draft.
“It’s just super exciting to be picked by Sporting Kansas City,” Riley said. “They have a great coach in Peter Vermes and a great technical staff, and it’s just great to go to a team with a lot of history behind and to see how I fit in and help the team in any way possible.”
In the post-draft interview, Riley showed a willingness to learn from the current starters and already had a good idea of who he would be looking up to.
“I watched (Sporting KC) throughout the past couple of years and I love their style of play,” he said. “It’s fascinating to watch and very fun. I see myself either learning from Ille Sanchez or Graham Zusi on the right back, also see myself also maybe playing as a centerback and playing the ball.”
“I think it’s all about where they see me fit and where my progression takes me.”
In both rounds of Friday’s draft, Sporting KC went with defensive midfielders who can play multiple positions in the back of the field. As opposed to Kamar Marriott, Sporting KC’s first round pick, Riley has more of an offensive bite to him as he put together nine goals and five assists in his senior year at Pacific. Regardless, should he make the Sporting KC or Swope Park Rangers roster, he will likely be moved from position to position based on the need of the team at the time.
“I think my game is best described by my thinking off the ball and my ideas in my head,” he said. “That can translate to be played in a lot of different positions.”
Sporting Kansas City have two more picks in the MLS SuperDraft, which will conclude on Sunday with the third and fourth rounds.
*Editor’s note: As an aside, I would like to commend my colleague Eric Atcheson, who correctly picked Camden Riley in the SB Nation Mock Draft, just one round too early.