top of page
mls image.jpg


TUESDAY 19TH DECEMBER 2023 - Two talented Vertex Soccer graduates, Laurence Wooton and Tyger Smalls, have been drafted into the MLS after excelling at college level.

Smalls, 21, was snapped up in the first round by Dean Smith managed Charlotte FC, following a stunning season for Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, while Wooton, 23, was drafted in the third round by Chicago Fire. 

Wooton was placed at Ohio State University by Vertex following his release by English Championship side Cardiff City in 2020. A central midfielder, he has been a standout performer in college soccer since arriving in Ohio, being named a 'Big Ten Conference Midfielder' in both 2022 and 2023.

The Stoke-on-Trent born midfield general is the first player in Ohio State history to earn All-Big Ten First Team honours four times, as well as only the sixth player ever to be named First Team All-Big Ten four times. After being named team captain at Ohio State for the 2022 and 2023 campaigns, Wooton made the All American Athlete Selection before being drafted in the third round by Chicago Fire. He finished his career with Ohio State boasting 17 goals in 61 starts.

Smalls, 21, recorded a stunning 2023 season, scoring seven goals and one assist to lead Loyola Marymount University to the Elite 8 before being named a first-round pick by Charlotte FC.  The exciting London-born winger started his career at Tottenham Hotspur before spells with Arsenal and Norwich City before moving to the United States with support from Vertex Soccer. Prior to attending Loyola Marymount University, Smalls contributed seven goals and seven assists in 19 matches for Tyler Junior College in Texas.

Sam Craven, founder of Vertex Soccer, said:

"This is a proud day for Laurence Wooton and Tyger Smalls and an equally proud day for Vertex Soccer.

We work tirelessly to help our players on and off the pitch, and both Laurence and Tyger are a credit to Oliver Shannon, our Head of Scholarships at Vertex, and the team behind the scenes.

We want to help every player reach their potential by placing them in the ideal environments to flourish.

For Tyger to be a first round pick, and Laurence to create Ohio State history before being drafted by Chicago Fire, I am bursting with pride and believe it clearly shows the strength and expertise of Vertex to place talented players in the US college system. There is another exciting year on the cards for Vertex Soccer and I have no doubt Laurence and Tyger are going to flourish at their new clubs. Good luck !"

bottom of page