Eric Avila, the UCSB midfielder who helped lead the Gauchos to the 2006 NCAA College Cup title, is close to signing a deal with Major League Soccer.
According to MLS sources, the skillful midfielder is set to forego his senior season of college and is considering a Generation adidas contract that would make him one of the most highly-coveted players in the 2008 MLS Draft. He had been rumored to be planning a move to Argentina, but sources say Avila is now closing in on a deal with MLS.
Avila was just recently called in to the U.S. Under-23 national team’s upcoming camp that is preparing for U.S. Olympic qualifying in March.
Avila scored the game-winning goal in the 2006 NCAA College Cup final and has been considered one of the most dangerous attacking midfielders in college for the past two seasons.
If he does sign he could be a possibility to San Jose at No. 1 overall in the MLS Draft, but more likely, to Real Salt Lake at No. 3. RSL needs an attacking midfielder and while Avila is young (he turned 20 in November), he has the skill to contribute right away. I can’t imagine Colorado passing him up at No. 5. That is unless Fernando Clavijo still believes Mehdi Ballouchy will be a player.
(Apology to RSL fans. I’ll blame new-site-itis for forgetting just how bad the Real Salt Lake defense was. As good as Avila is, RSL does have Argentine playmaker Javier Morales and would probably be better off drafting a defender like Julius James or Andy Iro, who would look pretty good playing alongside Nathan Sturgis).
What do you think of Avila signing with the league? Is he No. 1 overall pick material? Have you seen him play? Should he have stayed in school? Share your thoughts below.