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Daniel Cruz signs Generation adidas deal

Daniel Cruz 1 ( 

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UNLV and U.S. Under-20 striker Daniel Cruz has become the ninth player to sign a Generation adidas contract, making him available for the 2009 MLS Draft on Jan. 15, sources confirmed to SBI on Tuesday

a sophomore at UNLV, Cruz has emerged as one of the most highly-regarded players in the U.S. Under-20 pool and becomes the youngest player in the Generation adidas class at 19.

Here is an interesting interview Cruz did with just before the Under-17 World Cup in 2007.

What do you think of Cruz signing with MLS? Where do you see him going in the draft? Think he can make an impact, or is he more a long-term project?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I have seen the kid play a few times at right mid. Fast and plays with a lot of heart. His technical ability is a bit rough but tends to beat players off his speed and strength. I guess I have to ask my self he must not be to bad of a player considering he has been a regular and with the U20s and now is a GA player?

  2. If this guy did not touch a ball until high school, I would think the chance he will ever be more than a role-player in the MLS is small. Skill are just too important and your potential is much more limited without a strong grasp of the fundamentals by your teens. But I have never seen him play, so maybe he’s a quick learner. Hopefully, Einstein-quick.

  3. I think Danny Cruz is a left wing, maybe that’s why he’s alternatively listed as midfielder or forward. Can’t confirm though. Maybe he plays the right side, anyone know?

  4. That’s great news!

    I meant to make this point earlier with Opara and Sheanon Williams. In contrast to this idea of only going GA after the U-20 WC, if a player is on the fringe of the U-20 team, it’s better for the player to go pro now, train in a pro environment, and make a better case for himself going to the U-20 WC.

    In Opara’s case, he has the benefit of knowing he’s one of the top CBs in the pool, so he’s pretty confident he’s going to the U-20 WC one way or another. His bad scenario is if Brek Shea gets converted into a CB and the starting CB tandem for the U-20s becomes

    Brek Shea-Kyle Davies

    In which case as the non-pro Opara will end up riding the pine

    In Sheanon Williams case, I don’t think he’s a lock at RB for the squad yet, so it would probably make sense for him to go pro now and have a better chance of going to Egypt for the tournament next year.

  5. Ok thanks for the responses.

    I read on wikipedia that GA players normally make just above the league minimum, which is why I didn’t understand why players would be that interested in doing it, but I guess that isn’t the case.

    So why would Nyarko be a GA player and Sean Franklin and Andy Iro not? How are GA players selected? Do they ever turn down the GA offer for some reason (if they are going to play in MLS)?

  6. Consider the salaries of some 2008 1st Round draft picks who were not part of Gen Ad:

    #4 pick – Sean Franklin – $48,500
    #6 pick – Andy Iro – $56,500
    #10 pick – Pat Phelan – $33,000

    Then the GA comparables:

    #5 pick – Ciaran O’Brien – $78,750
    #7 pick – Patrick Nyarko – $135,000
    #11 pick – Roger Espinoza – $78,750

  7. chris: GA contracts are worth more than the equivalent salary for a similar player, and since they don’t count against the Cap, teams are more likely to have the player on the roster, since he is free. plus, if they blow out their knee and can’t play again, they do get college paid for. why wouldn’t you?

  8. Chris,

    When you’re 19, making between $75-$150K is a LOT of money.

    Most other (non GA) picks make between $33K-$60K, pretty big difference.

    It’s a win/win for the player, MLS and the team.

    GA Salary does not count toward the cap, win for the team.

    MLS gets a player that may have been good enough to go to Europe (maybe Norway or some other 3rd rate league), win for MLS.

    Player gets to ditch out of college to persue professional career at a decent salary in his native country and get tuition payed if soccer career craps out, win for the player.

    MLS isn’t full of ALL bad ideas you know.

  9. So why do these guys sign with GA?

    I read that they get a scholarship if they wnat to go back to school later, but they end up signing for very little pay in the MLS.

    If you want to join MLS as a 19 year old, what is the difference between being a GA player or not?

  10. I grew up playing hockey and soccer. I really think that the two sports have lots of cross over in terms of understanding space and time on a field, passing lanes, vision. In terms of hockey for soccer beside the above, hockey teaches great balance (I bet this kid rarely gets knocked off the ball) and footwork and agility all of which directly relate to soccer. There is even a certain crossover of moves (even though you make moves with your stick in hockey and with your feet in soccer) your body does similar things regardless.

    However, there is one area where he will always struggle with which I think will limit his potential: his foot skill/touch/coordination. This is something that is developed when you are between the years of 7-12 years old. Afterwards, of course you can improve it, but to REALLY be a creative force that does things automatically, I don’t think you can create the wheel when you are older. It’s like learning a language. You can learn one when you’re older but you’ll never really speak it like a true native without at least a little accent.

  11. I’ve seen this kid play several times at the UNLV park (hey, it’s free and close to my favorite bar in LV, The Crown and Anchor).

    He disappears for long periods during the game and the reason for that is because he’s on the bench alot. Then, he’ll come in and run around like a chicken with his head cut off.

    The reason posters think he’s fast is because of his frequent breaks. Any time he plays for a long stretch he just starts walking around, sort of like Lil Mikey Bradley.

    That being said, he is the only player worth watching at UNLV. The reason for that is that he is NOT a product of the “competitive” youth soccer scene, in fact, never played as a kid.

  12. J – You are thinking about Carlos Martinez. I was goingto aks Ives this question in his latest Q&A round-up but I was too late over the holidays.

    Any news Ives?

  13. I’m a student at UNLV, but sadly have only been to a couple of their games. I saw Cruz in his freshman year and actually thought of Jason Kreis when I saw him. He was the shortest guy on the field, but definitely had a fire and good vision. He had a great season that freshman year and helped UNLV turn around from a dismal previous season (2 wins = terrible). Anyway, hopefully he lives up to his potential more than the other UNLV alumni that have gone on to MLS (Rod Dyachenko and Herculez Gomez come to mind, although I still have hope for Gomez’s MLS career to pick up again. As long as the Revs don’t decide to follow up on Khano’s failed attempt at retaliation).

  14. I seen this kid play a bunch of times and hes like a worse version of Taylor Twellman. Never going to be good enough for the full national team. That doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t be called up 100 times though, lol.

  15. Is Daniel Cruz finally an answer to that eternal question: What if some of the natural athletes that play football in high school played soccer instead?

  16. Whatever happened to the kid who got kicked out of residency? I thought he was expected to sign with MLS since he was booted, and likely couldn’t go to Europe til he was 18? I forgot his name…

  17. well, I don’t know a thing about him, so I am going off the links you gave. He doesn’t sound like someone who is going to contribute much immediately, but as the saying goes: you can’t teach speed. In the right environment, with a lot of time on the ball in training and more tactics, he sounds like a potential star in a few years. These are the people mls needs to get into the pro ranks soon, so I like the signing. Late first round?


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