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MLS announces Generation adidas Class of 2008

Patrick Nyarko, Eric Avila and Alex Nimo are three of the marquee members of the Generation adidas class of 2008, which was announced by Major League Soccer on Thursday.

MLS named nine players as part of the new class and all nine will be eligible for the MLS Draft on January 19th in Baltimore.

Here is the list:

  • Patrick Nyarko, forward, Virginia Tech
  • Eric Avila, midfielder, UCSB
  • Alex Nimo, forward, FC Portland (high school)
  • Josh Lambo, goalkeeper, Chicago Magic (high school)
  • Tony Beltran, defender, UCLA
  • Chance Myers, defender, UCLA
  • Rob Valentino, defender, South Florida
  • Brek Shea, midfielder, Texans FC (High School)
  • Ciaran O’Brien, midfielder, UCSB

Nyarko is widely-regarded as the best player available in the draft and the likely No. 1 pick. The Virginia Tech striker is coming off a strong showing in the NCAA Tournament last month. Avila, who scored the game-winning goal in the NCAA College Cup final in 2006, is considered the best midfielder in the draft while Nimo is considered the best long-term prospect.

All nine players will take part in the MLS Combine this weekend in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. SBI will be there to give you the rundown on the Combine so be sure to check in this weekend for the latest news.

What do you think of this group? Share your thoughts on the Generation adidas Class of 2008 below.


  1. Just to verify. I wa snot signalling out Beltran. He happened to be in the wrong place/wrong time. This happens all of the time in US youth soccer. (Tony, have watched him quite a bit. You should reserve judgement if you haven’t seen a player. I won’t. Wash out.)

    Ask Brandon King. Average, average defender. Seriously average. I will say he could be replaced by a few hundred kids in this country. No exaggeration. That nominal a player.

    2 year full ride at B’ton. Never replaced. Full scholarship because he was in the system. Got some token minutes at the last U17 cup.

    Google and find out who daddy is. A very regular US occurrence. Youth coaches push their buys/favs and physical brutes all of the time also.

    When the USSF tries to tout B’ton as a success you should be angry. If you knwo the gam eit clearly isn’t. These kids are still technically weak and tactically inept after 2 freaking full years. That is not a success. SHows how much better we could do.

  2. First. I was wrong about worst player at the U20’s. 2nd worst – Ward was the correct answer.

    Second. The acadamy system will not begin to work as the one poster stated for several more years. Long way to go. I’m ecstatic it finally started but this isn’t going to be some instant revolution. Also, if players are that good, then they can pull a Ferrari and try Europe, instead of getting paid peanuts here. 7-10 years.
    That’s why the USSF issue still frustrates so much.

    Have said it for a long time now. Had been around it for a long time. Out players aren’t the problem right now.

    Entrenched youth/ODP coaches who are semi clueless and completely political at the youth level is the biggest issue in this country right now.

    Hell, we got morons who have zero high level experience and success rates who have Nat jobs now evaluating youth players!!!!! Hack and Scaharan. Insanity. These guys have proven they can’t evaluate players in drafts and camp. Their teams were tactically inept and player choices questionable to say the least. Guys with zero pro track record playing or coaching at any high level are the freaking evaluators for the country!!!! freaking insane. Teamster jobs. That’s what US coaching jobs are. In for life.

    Anyone who comes on here and tries to say Sach had some success is just utterly clueless. In – comp – etent. Boring clueless BA ball at it’s worst.

    These are our evaluators, and after failing miserabley they get Nat jobs. Everyone should write Sunil at his Columbia addresss and voice their displeasure. I did, in a very pro way, after the WWC and U17 joke. I listed the resumes and accomplishments of both. What cann he say? He responded politically an dpolitiely and sadi they were looking to move forward and change the culture.

    Looks like he is trying, but I can’t emphasize how corrupt that system is. It took 2 miserable, pathetic joke, embarrassing, clueless coaching failures before he could get the US youth coaching mafia to allow outside coaches.

    It’s that bad. Give him your support and voice your displeasure. He can be reached and maybe it might work.

  3. Juamiq,
    Your points are very valid concerning young foreign talent. ADG, even though an academy doesn’t count against the cap, most teams still have serious budget constraints (therefore the low salary cap for teams). In the long term, putting serious money (1 million/year) into an academy and scouting will pay greater dividends than signing most DP players for 1 million/year. But it’s like a lot of business these days, that look at short term returns at the cost of long term gains.

  4. TK

    I’ll reserve judgment on Beltran because, well, why the hell not?

    But I agree with your analysis. It permeates every facet of American soccer. Hell, even in our AYSO I coached kids who were smart, savvy SOCCER players for their age groups. Kids who could pass and understood the game – yet they were passed over for Select in favor or absolute brain clots who have no clue what to do on the field but who have some speed, or size and, often, an early birthday in the range. It’s a joke. My jaw dropped when I heard about the selections…

    So, sadly, the ridiculousness begins at the beginning…

  5. Why do young US players leave for Europe?

    Money and development.

    Why would young Central/South Americans leave for the US?

    Same reasons.

    It’s unfortunate, but players in Bolivia, Costa Rica, Peru, etc. that aren’t highly visible, but can play would jump at the chance to make more money and have a bigger spotlight. MLS can do it. They need to look at some of the rules though about origin.

  6. In completely out of the blue news, Clint Mathis just signed with Ergotelis FC of the Super League Greece, it’s the top division (they are currently in last place). And I’m not making this up.

  7. Hincha Tim – Agreed, but a team can already put as much money into its youth development programs as it wants w/o violating the salary cap. Only the DP slot would count against the cap. Thus, in a perfect world, a MLS team could invest organizational dollars into scounting, coaching, and developing homegrown players in its youth system while occasionally splashing some cash on young South/Central American talent that is ready to step in and contribute to the senior team. This is a pretty pie-in-the-sky view, but why not? In fact, DCU doesn’t seem to be too far away from this model…

  8. Hincha Tim, it depends on what kind of players we’re talking about. ADG was talking about DP salary level players, not cheap talent. I think the strategy works for players who don’t currently harbor ambitions of playing on big teams in Europe – the Tojas of the world – but a) you have to dig deep to find guys in this class who are actually talented and b) they would certainly not command DP level salaries. If you’re talking about a diamond in the rough making 15k/year in Bolivia, you’re not going to hand him a million dollar contract, are you? So, for the DP salary level, I don’t think this strategy could ever work. I am all for signing cheap unheralded South and Central American talent. But any young player who actually commands a salary in the DP range has dreams that MLS cannot fulfill at any price.

  9. Beltran wasn’t the worse player on the U-20’s. Tim Ward was. I wrote Beltran isn’t bad. Because he isn’t bad. Not as bad as many players out there. Not at the level Nimo, Avila and Nyarko are. Just “ain’t bad.”
    And I do believe Goff reported the apparent interst in Okocha to the Crew. He didn’t credit it to any other source did he? So I suppose he’s reporting it himself.

  10. P.S. I would rather see teams put DP money into developing homegrown talent in a good academy system, then go overseas for prospects.

  11. ADG:
    You have a valid point. Take, for example Jaime Moreno, who was fairly young player in Bolivia when DC signed him. What you need to do this would be a good scouting system, which MLS teams don’t seem to be smart enough to have put in place. I don’t agree Juamiq. Young players in countries like Bolivia would be very interested in playing in the U.S., especially since they make about $15k/year to play in the country’s top tier.

  12. ADG: Your obvious flaw is that no amount of money could possibly convince a young up and coming player from South/Central America to sign with MLS. They want to sign with clubs that are known jumping off points to big clubs.

    Jeff: Glad to see another fan! “Oh, please, allow me. I’ll just circumvrent you.”

  13. I would like to clarify a point regarding my earlier post. I understand that young South American stars such as Pato, Banega, Anderson, et al come with exorbitant price tags. Clearly MLS can’t compete for those signatures. But aren’t there youngsters in South/Central American (especially outside of Argentina/Brazil) who have talent but aren’t as highly regarded. I could see these players carrying a decent sized transfer fee, but something managable.

    Maybe its a pipe dream, but I would prefer to see MLS teams using the DP slot to focus on younger talent, than European players on the downside of their career.

  14. The Offsides Rules may have scooped the big boys again. He’s reporting that MAYBE Clint Mathis has signed with a club in Crete. Interesting development if true.

  15. ADG:

    those players tend to come with large transfer fees, as well. if you can only sign one player to a large contract, go with the one you know can play, not gambling on the future.

    TK: this is where team academies will help. A team like DCU or NYRB won’t keep a non-developing youth player around, and certainly won’t sign him, unless they see potential. plus, those academies get to look 3,4,5 years down the line in player development. they don’t need to compete this year, who cares who wins MLS Youth cup, or the local U-16s? Even local programs with good track records have pressure to win now, they have to favor the Beltran’s of the world who can help them now, as opposed to the Nimos who can help someone else in two years. Even at Bradenton, there is pressure to win today (look at the response to the U-17s last summer) Even college coaches rarely have the luxury of player development at the top schools (this is why so many 4 year players who make an impact in MLS are coming from places outside the top ten, those coaches need to win NOW, and have players who are better NOW, they can’t afford to let young players develop much) Does anything think Arsenal cares about the results of reserve matches? or youth matches? they are looking at players, and how they develop, with one goal: making the senior club better.

  16. Hincha Tim – all solid points. Still, I’m not convinced that some of those signings, even with a transfer fee, may be better than one year of wasted Denilson. But goog points.

    GLC521 – I hope you are right (and I should probably head over to the Post to figure out whatever it was that Goff said). Ochoa would be a HORRIBLE signing. I hope they have someone better in mind.

  17. Jay Jay to Columbus for a DP is false and not what Goff reported. The Columbus GM said they are talking with a European goal scorer for their DP, which i am taking as meanin a forward. I am assuming Jay Jay is someone else they are talking with as a non-DP player as he is in England’s 3rd tier and no one would pay him DP money to come to MLS, plus he is a midfielder.

  18. ADG
    The flaw is that an MLS team is still going to have to pay a pretty hefty transfer fee for a prospect since almost all of them are under contract. Then they would be competing against European teams which have a lot more resources. If you notice all the DP’s that have been signed have been free agents, players who’s contracts have ended so there is no transfer fee. Figo would be in this same position at the end of July, theoretically.
    Here’s an interesting article that discusses what you are talking about and which concludes that teams overpay for prospects:

  19. hey TK, maybe beltran will some day be the national team coach b/c of his pedigree and getting in early. TIC of course. kinda.

  20. This a little off topic, but the rumor (according to Goff) is that Columbus might use its DP spot on Jay Jay Ochoa. This seems like a horrible waste of a DP spot on a 30 something veteran who is well past his prime.

    So here is my question. Are any MLS clubs looking at using a DP slot to bring in a top-flight teen/early-20s South/Central American? Granted guys like Ever Banega are going to be too expensive, but what about the next rung. For that money you would get a top flight player on the upside of his career. If things pan out, the club ends up taking in a large transfer fee in 2-4 years when the player develops enough to move to Europe. Rinse, repeat?

    Is there an obvious flaw I’m missing here…

  21. @Joamiq – I actaully read it as cirsumvent and chuckled to myself – then laughed out loud when you mentioned Arrested.

    Man I miss that show.

  22. Someone posted Beltran ain’t bad. Huh?

    He is exactly what is wrong with the US youth system.

    Very average player who was better when he was younger because he matured physically earlier. He has slipped steadily as he physically can’t overwhelm others as they have caught up, yet his technical skills stayed where they were. Why? When you are a physical specimen in the US youth system with an early birthdate you win. The hell with technical ability or smarts. We don’t reward that, and our evaluators don’t have the ability to spot soccer players. Why develop skills when you are rewarded for beating up and out running people. That’s a star here in the good ole US.

    Even though Beltran has continued to slide and show how weak he is, worst player by far at the U20’s, he was in the system young, so he stayed there, even though he was no better than hundreds of other youth players.

    Getting in early gets you a scholarship, and a Gen Ad contract. Famaliarity with the IN crowd. Like US coaches, once you are in the system you stay there.

    I predict the kid will be a washout, even with expansion. He just isn’t a very good player (and there is no joy for me to say it, he isn’t very good as far as a pro prospect goes), and it really isn’t hard to see. Beltran is not alone in this, and I am not signalling him out, just pointing out how the system works.

    After having watched him quite a bit over his youth carrier I am astonished someone says he isn’t that bad. Average dime a dozen player, but he has been in the system form day one, and you keep hearing about him, so he muct be Ok. no, he isn’t. That’s why we produce so much mediocre crap. Instituitionalized. Once in, always in. Sigh.

  23. Good to see MLS got Nyarko to sign. I wish they could have also convinced White and Tracey to sign now also. My guess is that next year, MLS loses them to europe like they are Lapira this year.

  24. @Joamiq How are the Galaxy circumventing the salary cap? I wasn’t a fan of the proposed Ruiz to LA trade but the way it would work, LA would have to fill it’s roster while staying under the cap like the rest of the league. They might have been worse off for it if the trade had gone through.

  25. Well well well. Perhaps the Galaxy can’t circumvent the salary cap quite as much as they’d like to.

    (Do we have any Arrested Development fans here? I had a strong urge to type cirsumvent.)

  26. Good for Nimo. He’s a Portland kid. It would be great if he was loaned out to the Timbers for a couple of seasons. Spending a year with the Timbers really helped Mike Randolph’s development to the point he is training with the Olympic team.

  27. does anyone know if those combine games will be televised? i’d love to see them as i have not been able to see any of these players.

  28. Brek Shea shouldnt be a complete unknown. He’s from College Station, Texas and he was in the residency program in Bradenton.

  29. Misareaux, you may have mistyped…The Revs making player development a cornerstone of their franchise?
    The last time any of us checked the Revs will be the only MLS team without a youth development system in place. TFC is at least looking into it.
    Grabbing Angulo with a bogus “discovery claim” doesn’t count as “player development.”
    But I’m sure you were thinking of NYRB or Chivas, not the Revs.
    I hope.

  30. This years draft seems more interesting than the past years, and not only for its strength. MLS teams are finally beginning to make player development a cornerstone of their franchises (DCU, Revs don’t count. They were at it for a long time). More than attendance numbers, we can really evaluate how much MLS has grown by looking at how much these players improve over the course of the next few seasons.

    The GA08 class does seem a bit weak though. Outside of Nimo, Avila, Nyarko, and Beltran, I don’t see the rest doing well. (Brek Shea is a complete unknown though.)

  31. Oh anyone know if Seattle has a pick? Don’t imagine so, but would be kinda cool since they do have somewhat of a team next year.

  32. After the first two players listed, the class looks pretty week, excluding Nimo.
    Glad to see him go straight to MLS. I could see him go the DeMarcus Beasley route. A few very good seasons in the MLS before heading off to a show off his skills on a well-known Euro team, hopefully PSV, Ajax or a La Liga team.
    Surprised to see Lambo in there. Didn’t know he was good enough straight out of high school.

  33. Most of them appear to be underclassmen with a couple 22 year olds.

    Who puts together the list of players to negotiate with for a Generation Adidas contract? When does this negotiation period commence?

    Are there constraints (min. or total # of players selected in any given year; min. or total $ amounts in any given year) or is coming up with this class mainly based on some talent threshold?

    What are the benefits for these players that other players don’t get?

    Also, I believe MLS teams get to automatically exclude these players from expansion drafts and perhaps only part of these players’ contracts — at least for a certain period of time — don’t count against the cap. Can you clarify the latter point? Also, are there other benefits to clubs that select these players?

  34. Seems like a weak class to me. The effects of our top prosepects opting for europe straight away is really hurting. This may be the least palatable class of P-40 or Gen adidas ever.


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