By Ben Wright (@benwright), editor.
SAINT LOUIS, MO - With the second overall pick in the 2020 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, Nashville SC selected Jack Mayer, a sophomore center back from Indiana University.
General Manager Mike Jacobs and a bus full of supporters made the drive to Saint Louis to announce the selection live from Maher's home. Maher captained his Indiana Hoosiers team in the 2019 season, and started each of his 46 collegiate appearances over two years. He also has played twice for Saint Louis FC at the USL level, as well as being a part of the US Youth National U-18 and U-23 teams.
A left footed, 6'2" central defender, Maher is a positionally sound and tactically intelligent player with a tremendous amount of upside. He's the only naturally left-footed defender on the roster behind Dave Romney, giving him an advantage with a coach who has historically preferred a left-footed and right-footed pairing.
As is fairly common with 20-year-olds, Maher lacks a bit of muscle mass, and is able to be bodied off the ball by a more physically dominant striker. He reads the game well, and makes up for a lack of flat out physical dominance by cutting out plays before they become dangerous. He's also a threat off of set pieces, scoring four goals and assisting two more in the 2019 season.
He's able to hit a good-looking diagonal ball, but his on the ball skills could be cleaned up a bit, and he's not going to start passing moves from the back immediately. With a composed passing center back like Romney ahead of him, he has a good model to learn from.
The youngest member of Nashville's roster to date, Maher has a tremendous amount of upside and has all the tools necessary to be a core contributor at the MLS level. He likely won't be a mainstay off the bat, but with a long season and potential national team call ups to players ahead of him, he could see the field for Nashville before too long.
Nashville have the second pick in the second round (28th overall) later this afternoon. Live coverage of the MLS SuperDraft can be watched here: