For the second part of this College Soccer News MLS prospects series, we will focus on the underclassmen players who MLS could possibly look to sign to Generation Adidas (GA) contracts. Since 2001, MLS has signed an average of 10 players per year to a GA contract, but this number has definitely decreased recently. In the past two years the league has signed 7 each year, but this year’s number is supposed to be the lowest in the program’s history. We will analyze some of the top available underclassmen who the league will likely target for these sought after deals.
*Georgetown defender Joshua Yaro, considered a top 3 pick, has already denied his GA contract and announced he will return for his junior year with the Hoyas.
Generation Adidas Big Board
1. Cyle Larin (UCONN): The Canadian forward has all the tools that MLS scouts look for at the next level, but sources have told College Soccer News exclusively that Larin will look to play in the Netherlands instead of MLS. This wouldn’t go over well with MLS as Larin is the big name on the board. Regardless, if plans fall through in Europe, the Huskies striker would be a lock as a top 3 pick. Despite a slightly disappointing campaign following his phenomenal freshmen season, Larin’s potential puts him in a class of his own. He possesses the size, pace, and touch for a forward that is hard to find for a player coming out of college.
2. Cristian Roldan (Washington): Roldan, a creative playmaker, is an essential signing for MLS, especially since Yaro decided to stay at Georgetown. Last year the Huskies maestro denied MLS’ Generation Adidas contract offer to return for his sophomore season. Roldan, a magician with the ball at his feet is one of the most exciting players in the country to watch due to explosiveness and vision. Like Larin, all eyes were on Roldan this year, and the midfielder many times was followed all over the field for 90 minutes. Despite this special treatment, the NSCAA Third-Team All American still performed welland should be a top 10 pick if he decides to sign.
3. Alex Bono (Syracuse): Bono, a junior goalkeeper, endured a stellar campaign leading the Orange to a Sweet 16 appearance while only allowing 12 goals all year. The Syracuse net-minder is one of the three finalists for the Hermann Trophy award, an impressive feat, especially for a goalkeeper. If the 1st team All-American wins the award, he would be the first goalkeeper to do so since former US National Teamer, Brad Friedel in 1992. Bono has rare combination of size at 6’3” and quickness that puts him over many goalkeepers at the college level. If Bono signs a GA contract, he’ll be the first goalkeeper taken.
4. Michael Amick (UCLA): Amick, a Third Team All-American once again had a solid season for the Bruins, leading the back line on the way to a College Cup final. The sophomore center back has been a fixture with the U.S. youth national teams throughout his youth career and it’s no surprise he has thrived under Jorge Salcedo. Amick is versatile enough to play anywhere in the defensive line and may even be more of an outside back at the next level. Amick may not have the same ceiling as some of the other guys on the list, but like Eric Miller, a GA signing from last year, he’s a guy that could be develop into a very good MLS player.
5. Abu Danladi (UCLA): Danladi, the second fprmerGatorade National Player of the Year had a standout freshman campaign with the Bruins, recording 5 goals and 6 assists. The 5’10” forward out of Ghana’s Right to Dream program has the speed and overall athleticism to compete at the next level, but will need to develop in the right system. I personally feel he would benefit from another year in college to help mature his game, but there’s no doubt he has loads of potential. There’s rumors that MLS has offered Danladi a GA contract already and if he decides to sign, expect the College Cup finalistto be a first round pick.
6. Omar Holness (North Carolina: Holness (2g, 7a), an electric midfielder for the Tar Heels should be a top priority to sign for MLS before Europe comes calling. The 1st team All-ACC honoree has matured dramatically since his sophomore campaign and will only get better. The electric central midfielder was an integral part to North Carolina’s run in the NCAA tournament stepping up and at many times dominating the midfield. After starring with Jamaica’s youth national team setup, Holness received a cap with the full Jamaican National Team this past September only adding to his resumé. Holness would be a first round pick.
7. Tanner Thompson (Indiana) Sophomore- Midfielder
8. James Moberg (Washington) Junior-Midfielder
9. Guillermo Delgado (Delaware) Sophomore-Forward
10. Connor Donovan (North Carolina) Freshman-Defender
11. Jacori Hayes (Wake Forest): Sophomore- Midfielder
12. Patrick Hodan (Notre Dame): Junior- Midfielder
13. Emil Ekblom (Syracuse): Sophomore- Midfielder
14. Brandon Vincent (Stanford): Junior- Defender
Stay tuned for the final part of the series regarding potential college homegrown signings this offseason
Ben Roth is a contributing writer for College Soccer News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org