January is a busy month, with the transfer window opening and EPL action, but it is also busy for MLS. The 2014 MLS Draft is two weeks away, and on Thursday, the league announced signings of the next Generation Adidas class and contracts with two college seniors. Four players signed Generation adidas contracts, while two other players agreed to contracts with the league.
An MLS press release describes what it means to be a Generation Adidas player and the financial responsibility of clubs.
“Players who join MLS as part of the Generation adidas program receive the opportunity to develop their game and hone their skills at the professional level. In addition to training and playing with one of Major League Soccer’s 19 professional clubs, Generation Adidas players receive educational grants to further their college education. Generation Adidas players do not count against an MLS team’s salary budget.”
Essentially, Generation Adidas players tend to be drafted towards the beginning, if not first, however, there are always exceptions to this rule. Furthermore, these players play soccer while attending school. As stated above, these players do not count against a team’s salary budget, so it allows them to have top talent and find other quality players at the same time. Lastly, more Generation Adidas players could be added before the draft commences.
The 2014 Generation Adidas class includes players from separate Division I soccer programs. They are Andre Blake (University of Connecticut), Marlon Hairston (University of Louisville), Eric Miller (Creighton University) and Ntokozo “Schillo” Tshuma (University of Maryland).
There are also two All-American players and college seniors, Patrick Mullins (University of Maryland) and Steve Neumann (Georgetown University). Last summer, Neumann captained the 2013 USL-PDL side Reading United to success, and spent time training with MLS teams Philadelphia Union and Portland Timbers.
With the announcement, MLS fans should be excited to see if any of these players land on their favorite team. The latter two players, Mullins and Neumann, should find success in their first MLS season.
For the Generation Adidas players, their success and consistent playing time most likely will not occur until their second or third year. However, one of the four could break the norm this year, but that is unlikely.
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