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The Generation adidas targets

Omar Gonzalez ( 

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While the list of MLS Combine invitees has been released, you cannot get a real sense of how the 2009 MLS Draft might shake out until you see the Generation adidas players that will be in the mix. All indications are that the upcoming Generation adidas class could be one of the strongest in league history.

SBI has learned the names of several top college underclassmen that have been targeted and approached about signing Generation adidas contracts. Among the players are standout defenders Ike Opara (Wake Forest) and Omar Gonzalez of Maryland (pictured), two players considered high-first round draft pick prospects and two players who will be on display this weekend at College Cup in Frisco, Texas.

Here is a list of names of players who have been approached and are considering signing Generation adidas contracts, which would make them eligible for the 2009 MLS Draft:

2009 Generation adidas prospects

This is not a list of Generation adidas players, but a list of the top players approached with Generation adidas contract offers. The full list of Generation adidas signings may not emerge until early January.

For now, what do you think of this crop of players? Are you liking the way the 2009 MLS Draft could look? What player would you like your team to land in the first round?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Agree with Stephonhens, Bone led the NCAAs in assists this year with 74 a game. He’s nearly as impressive as Opara in terms of upside and was the number one recruit in the NCAAs last season (for a reason).

  2. You are right; maybe it hasn’t helped them get playing time yet. But all three are at much better clubs than the others are (outside of Zimmerman if he starts getting playing time). What MLS has got them though is into the national team already.

    I buy part of your money argument as well. They will most likely get more in the short term. However, you don’t think that the three that have moved to teams that play continental football make a pretty good chunk of change more than playing for a Scandinavian or division 2 team? You might take a loss of a couple grand over two or three years but you get the chance to make double or triple what you would make in Scandaniva.

    Now, I’ll be honest here and I was assuming that by “sensible” you were taking the good old “MLS is crap and the only way to develop is in Europe” line. You may not have so this might be moot. I just think people assume that Europe develops young American players better than MLS does. However, there is no proof yet that this is true. In fact more players from MLS end up on teams that play continental tournaments more than those that go straight to Europe. I do understand where you are coming from though and it does depend on the player.

  3. JC: They get paid a lot more. Who said anything about it “making them a better player?”

    Besides, while there’s no doubt starting time contributes to your game, I’d venture that the average development program at a 40-year-old or more European club is still better than most of anything that MLS offers (a league where some players are still expected to buy gym memberships to supplement their training.)

    So even if you aren’t starting, you might well become a better player just being in a more professional environment. So the argument doesn’t necessarily wash either way.

    And in case you haven’t notice, going Gen Adidas hasn’t helped any of the three players mentioned become starters, either; it could be argued it merely delayed their inevitable move to Europe, which in all three cases was based on potential, not immediate production. Guzan is a backup being groomed to be a starter, Edu is a squad player who is fourth or fifth on the depth chart and Altidore is a kid. Arguably, Altidore benefited greatly from the quick leap to professionalism, but there’s also nothing to say he wouldn’t have done the same over there, ala Rooney, Milner etc.

  4. jloome:

    Explain how the sensible thing is to go to Europe. The only player in the past few years to turn down a GA contract and do well in Europe is Charlie Davies. Zimmerman hasn’t done much, Ngyuen has bounced around, and Rogers came home from Holland. Meanwhile, Altidore landed at Villereal, Guzan at Aston Villa, and Edu at Rangers. The idea that going to Europe straight away makes you a better player has so far been a myth.

  5. It’s a good list. I haven’t seen enough of Frei or Husidic to rate them, but the others are all MLS quality. Opara is a can’t-miss prospect. Hall hasn’t developed as much as I’d like since his u17 days and might take a year or two but the tools are there. Stephens has huge upside.

  6. Curious and excited to see what Mo is going to do with our picks. Have you heard anything further about TFC targeting hte signature of Keon Daniels?

  7. Strider:

    the benefit to the team is that they don’t count against the Salary Cap.

    the benefit to the player is a guaranteed salary and a scholarship to cover the loss of NCAA eligibility should the whole soccer thing not work out. it was a part of the original project-40.

    Ives, any idea who the U-20 or U-17s who might be looking at Gen-Ad contracts? surely it’s not all collegians? no one from Bradenton this year?

  8. MLS hasn’t approached Andre Akpan yet? If not, it has to be due to the fact that he wants to get his Harvard degree before he goes pro. He has had pretty ridiculous stats his entire college career and got some minutes for the US in the U-20 world cup.

  9. Pardon my ignorance, but what benefit is there to the player in signing a Gen. Adidas contract? I really don’t know how or why this works.

  10. Ives,

    Several of the players list hometowns outside the U.S. What are the rules (if any) on who is eligible for the Gen Adidas slots? For some reason I thought you had to be a US citizen or US resident.

  11. Also, I’m shocked that Gonzalez is considered that good. I ain’t a pro scout, but we were making fun of that “big awkward CB” all game long. Maybe he had an injury (evidence – he never once got forward for set pieces which his resume says he does), because he sure didn’t look as athletically gifted as all the reviews read. True, he dominated in the air, but he also had 6 inches on any attacking player he faced that day. My opinion is pretty meaningless, but I’ll pretend to be an expert and predict bust for big Omar.

    BTW, after Hall and Wallace, I thought the best player was frosh forward Casey Townsend, who looked like a Chris Rolfe out there running like mad as the lone man up top.

  12. Awesome for Jeremy Hall! I saw the ACC Championship game and cannot say enough good things about Hall who is a great left sided player.

    His partner, also on the left, Rodney Wallace is also MLS quality but only a sophomore.

  13. Husidic?! Another Bosnian????!!! Why don’t we just start a wayward home and call it the Lost Boys of Bosnia (Subotic, Ibisevic and now Husidic)…

  14. Ives, Any thoughts on what Agorsor (UVA)will do after tearing up his knee this past season? I know he came back from a previous knee injury and was playing well.

    But might he start to wonder that another injury like this could be his last and why not cash in now rather than take a chance?

    I know he would have to prove himself what are the alternatives?


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