Akron’s Win Could Be MLS’s Gain

Akron’s Win Could Be MLS’s Gain

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On December 13, 2010
  • 2010 College Cup, 2011 MLS SuperDraft, Akron, Anthony Ampaipitakwong, Darlington Nagbe, Darron Mattocks, Generation adidas, Kofi Sarkodie, Perry Kitchen

Akron's College Cup win could mean big things for next month's SuperDraft. (AP photo)

This time of year is always dedicated to the College Cup and those young guys that are thinking of going pro to MLS. I won’t lie this is probably one of my favorite times of the MLS calendar because of it. With the University of Akron winning their first College Cup yesterday things could be changing both there and in MLS.

The Zips were loaded this year as most of you who follow even a hint of the college game would know. Over the last two years Caleb Porter’s team has only lost two games. They were hungry going into their College Cup final yesterday against Louisville. They wanted to prove they belonged in the finals each year and yesterday should have shown the country that Porter’s Zips could be a dynasty in the making.

There is only one hiccup in that last sentence. Akron could stand to lose up to eight guys to next month’s MLS SuperDraft. After a couple seniors the team littered with talent across the pitch could see a handful of underclassmen declare for the draft including defenders Zarek Valentin, Chad Barson and Kofi Sarkodie, midfielders Perry Kitchen and Michael Nanchoff, and strikers Darlington Nagbe and Darron Mattocks.

Let’s also not forget about senior leader Anthony Ampaipitakwong. The league already is targeting to sign him early before the draft.

MLS has already targeted Valentin, Sarkodie, and Nagbe as potential Generation adidas targets. You could easily throw in Mattocks, Nanchoff and Kitchen if they all decide to come out.

Kitchen and Mattocks are no locks to come out just yet as they are only freshman but after winning the College Cup yesterday some scouts believe there could be a mass exodus at Akron to MLS. The league could hope to get as many as five underclassmen to GA contracts. Sarkodie and Valentin are both said to be exiting Akron early for the MLS draft. Its possible to say that Nagbe, Kitchen and Mattocks could be joining them.

Would the league really sign five or six guys from Akron to GA contracts? Its possible as long as some targets for GA contracts like Maryland’s Ethan White or Matt Kassell sign Home Grown Talent contracts with their respective teams (same goes for Penn State’s Corey Hertzog). That could open up some space and possible some cash by the league to get guys like Kitchen or Mattocks to leave early for MLS.

Throw in the reserve league coming back next season it could help entice younger players to leave early like this as they’ll have a great place to gain experience while working their way into the first team lineups. The last couple years we haven’t had that extra option for kids in college to be interested in.

I think it will be safe to say we’ll be hearing a lot of names from Akron called in the first round of next month’s draft. It may be a big set back for a dominate program like Akron but we know Porter is a master at recruiting top talent to his program so they should be fine. And MLS should be the biggest winners of Akron winning the College Cup yesterday. Getting more top level young talent in the league only helps it grow even more.