Articles

Articles

An Early Look At Potential Generation Adidas Candidates

As conference play has begun, it’s only about a month away from the NCAA Tournament. With team’s in the midst of their season, MLS franchises’ front offices have begun to seek out potential players for the 2019 MLS Superdraft.   

The hottest commodities in the draft are Generation Adidas (GA) players, which are offered to a handful of the top underclassmen players in the NCAA, who then become essentially free assets for MLS teams to acquire. The GA model has it’s pros and cons, but regardless these players have a much greater chance to be drafted early and will earn more money in their first contract. Former GA’s include the likes of Jack Harrison, Cyle Larin and Cristian Roldan. 

The past three crops of GA players have either included six or seven players and thus, we expect this year’s group to be the same. Much can change in the next few months, but here’s College Soccer News early prediction on the 2019 MLS Generation Adidas class. 



Mo Kamara​​ (UCLA): Kamara, a transfer from Tyler Junior College, when healthy, has been excellent for the Bruins. The Liberian born forward has the ability to stretch the field as well as check back into the midfield and create himself. His unique skill set along with his goal scoring prowess has MLS teams wanting Kamara to leave school early. Kamara’s biggest question, much like former UCLA GA, Abu Danladi, is whether he can stay healthy down the stretch. If Kamara can continue his form and make a tournament run, expect him to be a top 5 pick come January. 


Siad Haji​​ (VCU): The US Youth International, Haji, has had a stellar beginning to the season notching 5 goals and 7 assists for the Rams. Haji gained notoriety following his freshman year, where he led NEC in scoring. His ability to beat players off the dribble and create for his teammates is what makes him so enticing. There are questions as to where Haji’s best position will be at the next level, but there’s no doubting his talent. He carries himself with a confidence on the field and playmaking ability that is sure to catch notice. Haji is a borderline GA candidate currently, but if can finish the season strong, there’s no reason he shouldn’t receive an offer. 


Manny Perez​​ (NC State): Arguably the most recognizable name on this list, Perez, has himself in great position to receive a GA offer. The Wolfback’s winger, has played as an outside back for Tab Ramos’ US U20 side, and is expecting to be a key piece through CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers next month. The 2017 ACC Freshman of the Year, will no doubt get a GA offer with the only question being whether he makes a move to Europe instead. 


David Egbo​​ (Akron): Egbo, the Zips leading attacker has all the tools to succeed at the next level. The sophomore forward already has 8 goals, 3 assists on the year and will look to continue his play into the NCAA Tournament. Egbo’s play has matured immensely since joining Akron, improving his hold up play and ability to combine with teammates. Egbo needs to round out his game and improve his fitness levels, but he has one of the highest ceilings in this draft, if the right club develops him. 


Benji Michel ​​(Portland): The Pilots offense output comes on the back of Michel, who’s scored 10 goals and 2 assists to keep Portland as one of college soccer’s remaining undefeated teams. His clever off-shoulder runs, deceptive pace and poacher’s mentality is why Michel’s one of the most devastating forwards in college soccer. There are questions regarding his HG rights with Orlando City, but is he’s eligible for a GA, there’s no doubt Michel will be at the forefront of discussions. 


Griffin Dorsey​​ (Indiana): Following a run to the College Cup as a freshman, Dorsey has returned in top form for the Hoosiers. The US Youth national product has 4 goals and 3 assists on the season thus far and has contributed in other facets of the game too. Dorsey’s tactical acumen and positional versatility will be a benefit to teams at the next level. The ​College Soccer News ​ 2nd Team All-Freshman honoree will be a candidate for the U20 World Cup, which should only help his case. 


Rodney Michael​​ (UCSB): Michael has built on his Big West Freshman of the Year campaign to put himself in this year’s GA talks. The forward from Sierra Leone has been a menace for back lines across the country and can generate offense in a variety of ways. Michael likely projects as a winger and second forward at the next level, but can make an impact from anywhere on the pitch. Much will depend on how UCSB finishes their season, but expect Michael to be in the GA conversation going forward.  



The Red Hot Shinyashiki by Dela Agbotse

Scoring matters.  Consider the season Andre Shinyashiki is having.  If there's any college soccer forward playing better and making more of an impact than Shinyashiki, it's hard to name him. He has scored nineteen goals including seven game-winners in the first eleven contests of the 2018 season and is atop every offensive category in college soccer averaging 5.6 shots per game with an average of 3.4 shots on target. 

It is all coming together for the Denver offensive ace.  He has displayed subtle moves when creating space, smart decisions when opponents are trying to take the ball off him, decisive forays into the box and an immense appetite for goal.  Shinyashiki has been lights out thus far this season with the addition of a lethal finishing touch to his game that has improved his efficiency and proficiency in front of the goal.  The Brazilian striker has been as productive as anyone in the history of college soccer so far this season.  

The kid's rolling and is on pace to have one of the best individual seasons ever in college soccer and at no point has his approach or personality evey changed.  

Shinyashiki has always had a great work ethic. So what's different this year?  For starters, he seems to have an aura and calmness regardless of the opposition he is facing. He is allowing his instincts to take over, where before he may have hesitated.  As a result the Denver striker is unfliching and unyielding.  He is playing smarter, wiser, and more savvy soccer. 

When Shinyashiki is in rhythm, he plays at a level only elite college soccer players before him have reached.  It is also a big plus that Denver is once again collectively playing with a level of toughness and grit that Pioneer head coach Jamie Franks likes to describe as "fighting football."  

The time may come, if it hasn't already, when the debate will begin as to whether Shinyashiki  is having the best college soccer season offensively that there has ever been.  But for now, the focus of Shinyashiki and his teammates is on taking it one game at a time with a desire to secure a berth in the College Cup (Final Four) at the end of the season.

There is a lot of soccer left to play in the 2018 campaign.  As a result the question at this point is whether or not Shinyashiki will be able to maintain his red hot form for the remainder of the regular season and come playoff time. Can he elevate his play to an even higher level when every contest becomes that much more important?  It also remains to be seen whetther Shinyashiki and his teammates will be able to adjust to the different defensive schemes that they will no doubt face in Summit Leage play as well as in the marquee non-conference contests remaining on the road with Virginia, Maryland and Stanford. 

Denver hosts Purdue Fort Wayne on Friday night in Summit League play and travels to Charlottesville to face a University of Virgina team out of the Atlantic Coast Conference on Monday that has allowed a total of only two goals in eight games to date.  It should be interesting.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 Dela Agbotse is a contributing writer for College Soccer News.  He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Three Top College Coaches Who, If Interested, Would Be Good Candidates To Make The Jump To MLS

There hasn’t been a plethora of college coaches transitioning to coaching gigs in MLS, but those such as Caleb Porter have shown that there are talented coaches in the NCAA, who deserve a shot at the next level. With more teams investing in their academies, domestic coaches with a grasp on the youth and college game, will be high in demand.

The San Jose Earthquakes and Vancouver Whitecaps have already parted ways with their head coaches.  As the MLS season comes to a close, more coahing vacancies are expected. 

Look no further than this group of coaches from Division 1 powerhouses, who have all created a tactical identity and winning mentality amongst their sides and have the experience to succeed in MLS.



Bobby Muuss - Wake Forest

In his three and a half years at the helm of the Demon Deacons, Muuss has led his side to three straight NCAA quarterfinal appearances, including a trip to the College Cup finals in 2016, amassing a 65-8-7 overall record, while in the country’s toughest conference. Muuss and his coaching staff have brought in a free flowing possession-based style of play, which has created one of the most potent offenses in recent college soccer memory.

Dynamic attackers such as Jon Bakero, Luis Argudo and Ema Twumasi have been able to thrive under Muuss’ system and elevate the program’s notoriety. Muuss, the reigning three time ACC Coach of the Year, has the ability to develop players for the next level, evident from his fourteen players players drafted or signing an MLS Homegrown in just three years, including Jack Harrison (Leeds
United), Jacori Hayes (FC Dallas) and Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union). Muuss has his young side a perfect 10-0-0 this season, ranked #1 in the country and in position as one of the favorites to win the College Cup.

MLS Fit - Colorado Rapids

The Rapids are one of MLS’ long underachieving franchises and Muuss could be the one to turn their fortunes. Prior to his current stint with Wake Forest, Muuss coached eight years at the University of Denver where he revamped the program, winning 3 conference Coach of the Year
awards and earning four NCAA tournament bids. The charismatic Muuss has a great knowledge of the top players in area, ability to coach attractive-winning soccer and experience with some of the nation’s top young players that could drastically improve the club’s future. Current Rapids manager Anthony Hudson hasn’t had convincing results in his first season and if the club decides to go in another direction, Muuss would be a perfect candidate.


Jeremy Gunn - Stanford  

It’s impossible to talk about the nation’s top college coaches, without mentioning the catalyst behind the reigning three-time National Champions. Jeremy Gunn has been able to create a results-driven team year after year, built upon a stable back line and
energetic attackers that buy in to his approach.

Over the past 3.5 seasons, Gunn has an impressive 57-8-13 record, with much accredited to his tactical astuteness and pragmatic method to winning matches. The Cardinals are currently 5-1-3 and once again the team to beat in December.

Gunn has also had success in developing players for the next level, as shown by the likes of Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire) and Tomas Hilliard-Arce (LA Galaxy). 

MLS Fit - San Jose Earthquakes

For a club that sits last place in the MLS standings, it’s no surprise Gunn has been rumored as a potential candidate for the Quakes. San Jose is in need of a stable manager that can earn results and Gunn fits the mold. Along with his vast knowledge of the American youth soccer
landscape, Gunn brings energy and discipline to a locker room that desperately needs it. Despite their poor results, the Earthquakes have young underutilized talent and a top academy, which Gunn would certainly promote. Gunn has won everything at the college level so it would
be intriguing to see him test himself in MLS.


Jared Embick - Akron  

Following in the footsteps of Caleb Porter, Embick, now in his sixth season as the Zips head coach, has maintained the program’s winning ways, while adding his own style within the team. Embick has a 83-27-12 record during his tenure including a run to last year’s College Cup final. Akron has earned the reputation for being the protagonist in most games, dictating the pace of play, which is something rarely seen at the MLS level.

Embick has played a role in the development of players such as Saad Abdul-Salaam, Jonathan Lewis (NYCFC) and Joao Moutinho (LAFC), who have all found success at the next level. Much like Porter, it’d be be interesting to see how Embick would adapt his tactical ideology in MLS.  Thus far he has shown the ability to bring in technical, high IQ players and churn out results.

MLS Fit - FC Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati will be joining MLS in 2019 and who else has a better grasp of the local talent and soccer scene in Ohio, than Embick?  The Akron head coach doesn’t necessarily have the theatrical personality often associated with being the manager for an expansion team, but his ability to identify talent and mold an efficient team, would provide a great framework for a new franchise. For a club looking to build an identity, Embick, with his progressive style of play and composed mentality would be a meaningful hire.