With the MLS Draft right around the corner, it’s time to analyze this year’s Generation Adidas (GA) signings. This developmental project by MLS has been used to sign the best underclassmen in the country out of college and has been an effective tool as these player’s don’t count against the league’s salary cap. The likes of Cyle Larin, Dom Dwyer, Darlington Nagbe and Perry Kitchen are just some of the success stories from this innovative program. The number of GA signings per year has decreased over time, but this year brings in a solid haul of seven players with potentially one or two more to be added late. Without further ado, the 2016 MLS Generation Adidas Class.
Jack Harrison (Wake Forest): Harrison, a crafty playmaker is the second freshmen taken in as many years and the first Demon Deacon to be signed as a GA since Ike Opara and Corben Bone in 2010. The Manchester United academy product lit up college soccer in his freshman campaign tallying 8 goals and 11 assists while leading #1 seeded Wake Forest to the Elite Eight. Harrison has all the tools to make it at the next level if he finds the correct system. The diminutive midfielder has the ability to off balance defenders and has a knack for setting up goals in the attacking third of the field. The College Soccer News 1st Team All American has the capability to play centrally or as a winger, another attribute which makes him a hot commodity for the draft. Expect the 19 year old, ACC Offensive Player of the Year to be a top 5 pick come January 14th.
Josh Yaro (Georgetown): The Hoyas captain has been one of the main GA targets for two years and MLS has finally signed the pacey center back. Yaro has an unquestionable athletic ability which is why the Ghanaian defender is so high on many team’s draft boards, but reads the game just as well. The College Soccer News 1st team All-American is slightly undersized to be a center back, but may become a hybrid back like AJ DeLaGarza or Marvell Wynne. Some question Yaro’s technical ability, but compared to many MLS defenders, he can play out of the back surprisingly well and should be able to find minutes in year one in MLS. Yaro is the leading candidate to be the first pick in the draft, whether Chicago keeps their pick or not.
Julian Buescher (Syracuse): Buescher (8g, 11a) was the catalyst to the Orange attack which notched 46 goals en route to the school’s first ever appearace in the College Cup. The German midfielder came onto the GA scene late after a stellar NCAA tournament for Syracuse, and rightfully so. Another College Soccer News 1st Team All American, Buescher has unbelievable vision and an ability to ping a 50 yard long ball to open up a team’s defense, a rare quality in MLS. He’s more of a natural #10, but may be dropped to a box-to-box midfielder at the next level. Buescher is a player I believe can thrive in MLS, but would need to find a correct system that plays to his strengths. One of the most year one ready guys in this draft should be a top 10 pick.
Richie Laryea (Akron): Add another one to the Zips historic list of GA signings. Laryea, another playmaker has play reminiscent to former Akron star and U.S. national teamer, Darlington Nagbe. The Canadian international and Sigma FC product was part of one of the most dynamic attacks in college soccer this past year as he notched 11 goals and 7 assists of his own. The sophomore midfielder has the athleticism and technical ability that translates anywhere.The College Soccer News 3rd Team All American has tremendous potential and the ability to earn minutes in his rookie year, so expect him to be gone within the first few picks.
Andrew Tarbell (Clemson): The Tigers goalkeeper was one of the main reasons why the Tigers were title contenders all year and made a trip to the national final. The 6’3” shot stopper has the ability to make great reaction saves and is confident coming off his line. Tarbell is as safe as a pick as it comes in this draft. Since goalkeeper is the most sure position in MLS, wherever he goes, Tarbell will likely be groomed as a backup while gaining much needed minutes in USL. With the GA tag, we should see the sturdy net-minder fall to a team late in the first round.
Omar Holness (North Carolina): The Jamaican youth international has been a GA prospect for a couple years, and will finally be making the move to MLS. Holness (1g,1a) had what some may consider an off year with the Tar Heels, but he was quietly productive, just without the same numbers. The athletic midfielder is versatile enough to play anywhere in the attack and has the explosiveness to blow by defenders at the next level. Holness is still a bit raw, but has possibly the greatest upside in this draft, which makes him so intriguing to scouts. Expect him to go in the top 10.
Fabian Herbers (Creighton): The Hermann Trophy runner up appears to be the final signing of this year’s GA class and he’s definitely one to look out for. The German forward led the country in points tallying a very impressive 15 goals and 17 assists for the Blue Jays, while being followed around by an opponent in many games. Herbers, a College Soccer News 1st team All American brings everything you expect out of your striker; the ability to hold up and link play, get behind the back line with pace, and an uncanny ability to finish. Add on top of that Herbers exceptional free kick abilities and you have the full package. In a draft class that is low on talented forwards, Herbers will be a commodity for any team looking to bolster their attack. Expect him to go in early part of the 1st round.
Ben Roth will be covering the 2016 MLS Draft again this year for College Soccer News. He can be reached at email@example.com. You can follow him on twitter:Benjiroth_16.