The MLS Draft is less than two weeks away and Major League Soccer has yet to announce the Generation adidas class. That doesn’t mean the class isn’t taking shape, but signs are pointing to the league potentially missing out on some of its targets.
One player who apparently won’t be missed is Omar Holness. Sources tell SBI that the Jamaican international and North Carolina midfielder is signing a Generation adidas deal, which will make him the second player to accept a deal, along with Clemson goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell.
MLS should announce the bulk of the 2016 class by the early part of next week, with the first four to five players being unveiled. As is tradition, the league can and likely will add more players as the week goes on. The total class should wind up in the 5-7 player range.
Here is a look at how the class is shaping up with less than a week to go before the MLS Combine:
1- JOSHUA YARO, Georgetown
The top target in this year’s Generation adidas has chosen an agent, but has yet to accept an offer from MLS for a Generaton adidas deal, and rumors are swirling that he will head to Europe rather than the MLS Draft.
2- ABU DANLADI, UCLA
The top attacking option in the draft pool has already been offered a deal by MLS, but is apparently considering foreign options as well. Would be in contention to be the No. 1 overall pick if he signed, but it’s sounding more and more like he will pass, though that may just be a negotiating ploy.
3- JACK HARRISON, Wake Forest
Reports that New York City FC filed a Homegrown claim on Harrison have been confirmed by SBI sources, and the seemingly flimsy claim is being taken seriously by MLS.
(UPDATED– Multiple sources have told SBI the Harrison homegrown claim by NYCFC has been rejected. Harrison is in negotiations to sign a Generation adidas deal)
4- RICHIE LARYEA, Akron
Has been offered a Generation adidas deal, but has yet to sign a deal. If Yaro and Danladi bolt to Europe, MLS could push harder to ensure Laryea signs. He’s a sure-fire Top 5 pick.
5. FABIAN HERBERS, Creighton
The German-born forward should receive a strong offer to sign given the lack of forwards in this draft, and if Danladi passes, MLS would face pressure to ensure Herbers does sign.
6- OMAR HOLNESS, North Carolina
Sources tell SBI the Jamaican speedster has signed a Generation adidas deal, and he could definitely be a Top 5 pick, particularly if Yaro and Danladi don’t sign.
7- JULIAN BUESCHER, Syracuse
The German-Born midfielder has received an offer, but it is unclear whether he has signed yet. There are plenty of teams who could use some defensive midfield help, and Buescher boasts the kind of quality that will ensure him being a Top 10 pick.
8- ANDREW TARBELL, Clemson
The first player to sign a Generation adidas deal, Tarbell is a first-round value and top goalkeeper in the draft.
9- NICK DePUY, UCSB
A 6-foot-4 forward with the good technical ability for his size, DePuy is gaining momentum as a potential GA target. Several teams rate him as one of the best forwards in the draft pool, and he’s certainly one of the top Americans available.
10- JAKE ROZHANSKY, Virginia
A Top 5 GA target before the college season, Rozhansky’s prospects have taken a hit after a disappointing sophomore campaign. He is still very highly rated by several teams, and is reportedly ready to turn pro. There is no word yet on whether he has received a GA offer, but his chances will certainly increase if the top three players on this list all wind up out of the draft.
11- TIM KUBEL, Louisville
The German-born right back is seen by some teams as the best fullback in the draft pool, but that’s apparently not generating into much Generation adidas buzz. He’s looking like a bit of a longshot at this point.
WHO ARE THE AGENTS? WHO ELSE TO THEY REPRESENT?
Not sure what I think about giving foreign players who will never be eligible to play for the US generation adidas contracts. Maybe it’s changed but this program at least used to be partially funded by US Soccer and was meant to develop US players (I assume Canadian too). Not sure why we would be investing in developing German players when they come from a country which has what everyone seems to think is a better system for developing players of this age. Really thought this program was meant for American players because everyone thought our college system was detrimental to the development of players for the US national team but we had no better system domestically. Anyone know if US Soccer is still funding this program?
Think of it as developing MLS players, because they will surely never play for Germany. Their development is way behind the bell curve of domestic German players.
It is a joint project of MLS and US Soccer, but over the years non-US players have come into the program. There is an entry in Wikipedia that not only goes over the history of the program briefly, it also lists all the Generation Adidas players since its inception in 1998. A lot of familiar names there, and some never heard of again. The list gives the players’ home towns and some who you know are foreign have US home towns listed, while some others don’t. Nagbe, for example, has a US home town while Dwyer is listed as from I think, London.
Many of these foreign players will be able to play for the USA. Kubel and Herber, for example, have never represented Germany at any level and would be eligible to make a one-time switch down the road if they wanted to represent the USA. Yaro is Ghanaian, but has never represented Ghana and could also become an American international later on if he so chooses. Same goes for Jack Harrison who has never played for England. Remember that Darlington Nagbe was not USA-eligible when he was received his GA deal, but has ultimately become a US International. Other players will continue to follow that example.
You’re going to see a larger number of international players in the GA class and in the draft in general because of the way MLS has evolved. With the growth of MLS academies and developing homegrown acquisition systems, a lot of top college prospects who in years past would have been on this list are going to be skipping the draft altogether. The draft will increasingly consist primarily of internationals (who can’t qualify as homegrowns but still go to college and still have MLS talent), late bloomers (who came into their own as NCAA players but didn’t flash enough to get MLS academy attention earlier), and players who simply fell through the cracks. What you’re seeing is just the new normal in the MLS draft.
Zee Germans are taking over zee draft!