Photo by ISIPhotos.com
The 2012 MLS Draft is a month away, and the Montreal Impact's options with the No. 1 overall pick are ready to get a lot weaker.
Akron University striker Darren Mattocks, a consensus pick to be among the first two players selected in January's MLS Draft, is ready to pass on the Generation adidas contract offered to him by MLS to sign in Europe. According to Mattocks' agent, Patrick McCabe, clubs in Norway, Sweden and Denmark have made offers to the Akron sophomore and he is set to select one of those options over the MLS Generation adidas offer.
If Mattocks does pass on signing with MLS, it will shake up the top of the draft, where he and Duke star Andrew Wenger were the consensus top two picks in the draft. According to sources, Montreal was strongly considering Mattocks with its top pick, and may be more inclined to deal the No. 1 overall selection if the Jamaican-born striker is unavailable.
Mattocks was the clear-cut best forward in the pool, but without him, MLS would have a handful of other forwards to turn to as potential Generation adidas signings.
As it stands, North Carolina standout Billy Schuler is expected to be the next highest-rated forward in the Generation adidas pool, and was already being offered a GA deal, but a Mattocks move to Europe would improve the chances of players such as UCLA's Chandler Hoffman, South Florida's Dom Dwyer and UC-Santa Barbara's David Opoku or Sam Garza to land a GA deal.
If Mattocks does pass on MLS, he will be the third top-rated college striker to do so in the past six years, joining Charlie Davies, who skipped the 2007 MLS Draft to sign with Swedish club Hammarby, and Marcus Tracy, who passed on an MLS offer prior to the 2009 MLS Draft to sign with Danish club Aalborg. In both instances, the players were considered the top players available in the MLS Draft. In 2009, Duke striker Mike Grella, the second highest-rated forward in that year's pool behind Tracy, also bypassed an MLS offer to sign with English club Leeds United.
Mattocks scored 21 goals for Akron in 2011, the second-most goals in the nation, as a sophomore after helping the Zips win the NCAA title as a standout freshman in 2010.
OWNBY ON TRIAL IN GERMANY
Virginia striker and former U.S. Under-20 standout Brian Ownby has been invited to the MLS Combine in January, but that hasn't stopped him from heading to Europe in search of opportunities.
Ownby is in Germany, in trial with third division side SC PreuÃŸen Münster. Considered one of the top talents in college soccer before a slew of injuries hurt his stock heading into his senior season, Ownby enjoyed a healthy 2011 and showed scouts the speed and skill that have him once again on the draft radar of several MLS clubs.
What do you think of these developments? Disappointed to hear Mattocks looks ready to bypass MLS? Think Ownby is worth a first-round flyer on draft day?
Share your thoughts below.