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Zavaleta signs Generation adidas deal


The 2013 Generation adidas class moved a step closer toward completion on Friday with the addition of another top college star.

Indiana University sophomore standout Eriq Zavaleta has signed a Generation adidas deal and will be available in the 2013 MLS Draft, sources confirmed to SBI on Friday. Ron Waxman, Zavaleta’s agent, confirmed the signing on Saturday morning.

Zavaleta, 20, helped lead Indiana to the 2012 NCAA title, scoring 18 goals during his sophomore season. A centerback who moves to forward before the 2012 season, Zavaleta projects as a central defender on the pro level and projects as a Top 10 pick in the 2013 MLS Draft.

The addition of Zavaleta brings the Generation adidas class to five players, at least officially. Andrew Farrell (Louisville), Mikey Lopez (North Carolina), Walker Zimmerman (Furman) and Jason Johnson (VCU) were the first four GA signings announced by MLS earlier in the week.

The Generation adidas class is expected to finish up with a total of seven players, with teenage forward Kekuta Manneh and Central Florida forward Deshorn Brown also expected to be a part of the class. Sources tell SBI that Manneh’s signing has yet to be announced due to MLS sorting out potential issues of training compensation with Manneh’s former youth club in Africa (Manneh is a native of Gambia).

A former U.S. Under-17 national team player, and former member of the U.S. Under-20  pool, Zavaleta is a 6-foot-1 centerback with impressive athletic ability and strength in the air. While he did impress as a forward for Indiana in 2012, he is still expected to be used as a central defender on the pro level.

Zavaleta’s departure is a big blow for Indiana, which would have headed into the 2013 college season as the consensus No. 1 team in the nation if their leading scorer had stayed in school. The Hoosiers will still be one of the top teams in the nation, boasting the best midfield in the country. The transfer of Louisville standout Dylan Mares, coupled with the return of midfield aces Nikita Kotlov and A.J. Corrado, should keep the Hoosiers in the mix for another national championship.

What do you think of Zavaleta signing a GA deal? See him being a Top Five pick? Think he could be a factor as a forward on the next level, or agree that centerback will ultimately be his best position?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Zavaleta may have played CB in high school, but at IU, he played at forward from the beginning. During his freshman year, IU had Tommy Meyer and Caleb Konstanski starting at CB, and he obviously played forward this year, when Konstanski and Kerel Bradford played at CB. My understanding was that he played farther forward in high school, but was told by knowledgeable people that his best pro shot would be at CB. I tend to think he could probably play CB at a higher level than he could play forward, but do think he’d be a decent MLS striker along the lines of Will Bruin.

  2. EZ can play either position well. He would like to stay up top and I hear that was one reason for the delay in his GA signing, as he was weighing going back to IU to show another year as a target. With all the talent around him at IU next year, he could have had another special season. It will be interesting to see who takes him and what their plans are, but my guess is he stays up top where he wants to be.

    • I can just see it….

      Coach: where do you want to play son?
      Zavaleta: I want to play forward coach
      Coach: ok, you got it, and remind your mother next week is her turn to bring oranges for half time.

  3. after watching a few of his youtube videos, i think he could develop into a good target man in the mls, but probably an even better defender.

    • i should have given some reasons for that opinion. he has a nice first touch and a fine head, he loves to get physical and can hold on to the ball. he has decent speed but nothing special at the forward spot in mls. he has good movement and vision, but he’s not very creative, and his passing lacks precision. dude straight up wins balls.

  4. I’ve seen him play two games at forward and he looks like a brilliant forward. Great runs and great finishing. I haven’t seen him play CB so I can’t comment on his CB skills.

  5. He was one of the top scorers in the nation. Correct me if I’m wrong. However, wouldn’t the team drafting him decide if he will play forward or CB? .

    • In fairness Nyarko scored quite a few in college and it hasn’t translated into the pro scene. I agree the team will decide. But eriq’s game awareness could translate into a solid striker or center back at this point. But yes I’d wager the team signing him will evaluate him as a player and not rely on draft labels

    • Actually, the magic position sorting hat will make the decision. Of COURSE the team will make the decision, nut this is a blog where we discuss what decisions should and shouldn’t be made. That’s kind of the whole fun of the thing.

      • Wow, thats a brilliant explanation. I’m missing something though. I could understand this scenario: team A drafted Zavaleta and view him as a CB. However, he was one of the top scorers in the nation, we have no idea who will draft him. So how do we know what the potential team is thinking if we don’t know the team.

      • I’m 95% convinced you’re just messing with me and I should just invoke Poe’s law, but in the interest of civil discourse, here goes. Dude, the question isn’t who will draft him and where will they play him. The question is, what is his best position? If you’ve seen him play or have seen highlights or even read some scouting reports on him, please feel free to weigh in.

  6. I bet he doesn’t play centerback on the pro level, but plays farther up the field. The same “projection” was being said about Andrew Wenger last year and it didn’t come to pass. 6′ 1″ centerback is nothing special based on size, unless he’s an excellent reader of the game and can smartly cut out passes, or has strong 1v1 defending ability. Zavelta might make a good midfielder.

    • Wenger and Zavaleta aren’t the same player. Wenger was considered a much better forward coming out than Zavaleta is considered now. A team might take a look at him at forward but more teams see him as a centerback.

      • I’m not Ives but I agree. Also, Wenger will never get within a mile of the US national team as a forward, whereas he has a chance of being a part of the pool as a defender.

  7. Only in America would we let only a select few players turn pro early instead of letting any players who wish to give it a go attempt to do so.

    • What? um yeah you make no sense. The players selected are the best in the nation from college or in Kekuta Manneh case,academy soccer. Many can’t become a pro directly from college. Those players can go play in the NASL or USL.

    • Anyone who wants to leave NCAA without graduating to go play soccer here or abroad is allowed. The Generation Addidas plan is just a contract that pays the kids a lot more than regular draft picks and with addidas paying a significant part of the contract so its not a large salary cap hit.

      Plus and I’m sure someone can correct me on this if its still the case a certain amount goes into a colege fund incase you get injured and don’t make it you can go back to school fully funded.

      The GA encourages underclassmen to leave by paying them a lot and giving them something to fall back on incase they don’t make it. A great program in my opinion. Its usually just the pro MLS teams who can’t develop the talent.

    • It’s not that they are letting only a select few turn pro early. They’re offering contracts to a select few as an inducement to leave college early.

      As for why they are offering so few and not so much money, that’s because the MLS is claims it is trying to get more players to turn pro early — to rejigger the incentives in order to lure the best players to stay in the Academy system. This would reward teams and players fo sticking to the Academy program. The fallacy in this argument is that MLS isn’t offering Homegrown deals to their best Academy players, with few exceptions. A handful of players are getting offers to go into the clubs instead of college, or even after a couple of years of college.

      I was willing to cut MLS some slack in this debate when they announced they were cutting back on GenAd to move these players through the ACademy and straight to the clubs. The thing is that isn’t happening. All it’s doing is cutting back the salaries that MLS is paying for top prospects, which I think will prove counter-productive.

  8. Only in America would we convert a natural goal scorer to a center back… I don’t buy that a lot of his goals were tap ins and wouldn’t translate over to the pro level. Zavaleta has that natural instinct to be in the right place at the right time, and more importantly, his finishing is class. You don’t score that many goals in big time games to be converted back to center back. Is he physically more suited as central defender? Not really, he’s a big physical forward in a physically renown league… Now whether he ends up at the right club that will enhance his development, that’s a different story all together..

    • Um…he was a CB who converted to a FW, not the other way around. It’s actually happens all the time to players around the world.

    • Apparently that should be shy & silly Ron. As others have pointed out prior to the “intensity” of college soccer Zavaleta had been a CB. Moreover, where did you get the misguided notion that college soccer matches are “big time games”? 1 or 2 good players playing with & against weak players hardly represents the “big time”.

      • He was played as cb be wise of his height at the youth levels. He was never a fan of the spot from what I’ve heard. He not h 15 goals in 16 regular season games. He’s got a nose for goal and knows where to position himselfin the opponents box.

        Will he pan out as a cb? Perhaps. He played a couple times there for IU in some early matches but IU did much better with him as a target man up top. Having played cb he’s quite a physical and imposing target striker.

    • “Zavaleta projects as a central defender on the pro level and projects as a Top 10 pick…”

      We read the same nonsense coming into last year’s draft about Andrew Wenger. You’ve got a guy who can score, you don’t move him back to defender.

    • As others pointed out, he’s a natural cb converted into a f not the other way around. It is also a natural progression for guys to be converted from attackers to defenders as they move up in competition. At lowere levels, you can score with top athleticism and little else, but as you move up, the technical demands become much greater and many players are better fits as defenders. Gooch was once a forward for example. I don’t think anyone would argue that Gooch is a natural goal scorer. He’s clearly a physical specimen who lower level managers used as a f just because he could run past defenders and fumble the ball into the back of the net, but his true position is clearly cb.

      • Eriq Zavaleta-“I would like to think that I am good at getting my big body into people and not letting them enter their comfort zone. Also, after being a forward my whole life I am comfortable on the ball. I would like to get better at not making silly mistakes that cause much bigger problems.”

        Eriq was only slotted in as a CB later in his youth level because of his size and strength. Again, not saying he isn’t a natural defender, in fact he’s quite a decent one. However, he was a forward for most of his life, switched back to CB especially when he went to Bradenton and now he nearly had a 1 goal per game ratio with IU. I think in the proper system Eriq would excel as a forward

    • let me think…Gerald Pique used to be a forward and was converted to a CB, he is now in the top 10 in the world at his position.

    • Omar Gonzalez was once a forward, and is now a center back… “only in America”!
      Would you recommend that he be moved back to forward? lol

    • If he has a natural instinct to be in the right place at the right time, I’d want that instinct working for my team on defense.

      Attackers sell tickets. Defenders win championships.


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