It seems as though every year now the Generation adidas class continues to shrink. Most of that is due large in part to the growing number of Homegrown players each MLS side is choosing to sign each season.
Naturally as we head into the next MLS SuperDraft next month the biggest question a lot of people pose to me is who will be on the Generation adidas list this year. Right now the expectation I’ve been told from folks around the league is that the Generation adidas class for 2014 will resemble the one from 2013, a small class, possibly even smaller. We’re talking five, maybe six names at most.
Like I always say around this time of the year, a lot can and will change between now and January. So with that here are a few names that seem to be high on most folks lists.
The main field
Leo Stolz, UCLA, M, Jr. – The German midfielder saw his season come to an abrupt end last weekend to the hands of UCONN in the third round. Stolz has many MLS clubs wanting him in this draft so I do expect the league to make a solid offer to him this winter. His nine goals and eight assists this season were a solid output for the number one team in the country going into the NCAA tournament too. Should Stolz sign, he is expected to be a top five pick.
Andre Blake, UCONN, GK, Jr. – The one keeper on this list is Blake, a guy we’ve been discussing for a couple seasons now. The Jamaican international has the physical tools that you want in a young keeper. He’s big, athletic, and reminds me a bit of a Sean Johnson, maybe better if he gets with the right keeper coach in MLS. He still has some maturing to do but there are a few MLS clubs that would like to sign him this year and the deeper he and UCONN go in the NCAA tournament the higher his stock will end up being.
Marlon Hairston, Louisville, M, So. – Hairston didn’t put up massive numbers for the Cardinals in 2013 but that isn’t what this steady central midfielder is about. He’s the type of midfielder that gets his hands dirty and does all the work that allows those in front of him to get all the glory.
Cyle Larin, UCONN, F, Fr. – The Canadian forward is certainly on the radar of the three sides north of the border with his frame (6-foot-2) and ability in front of goal (12 goals in 2013). He is a bit raw as you’d expect a Freshman in college to still be but his ability to run at players is improving with each game and once his finishing touch gets where it needs to be, he’ll be one heck of a prospect for someone in MLS.
Schillo Tshuma, Maryland, F, So. – Only six goals in 2013 for the Zimbabwe native but the ability is still there to improve. A lot of people see him as the next Steve Zakuani (pre-injury of course), and based on the few times I watched Maryland this season, I have to agree with those people. He will be one of the quicker prospects in this draft if he signs and once he gets better in the passing game and defensive side of things, he’ll be a very solid player in MLS.
Cristian Roldan, Washington, M, Fr. – I’ll admit, I’ve only seen the Huskies a few times this year but Roldan stood out the last two times I watched them. He was the Pac-12 Freshman Player of the Year thanks to his seven goals and five assists. His first touch is going to be the biggest things MLS clubs see when they first watch him. He also leaves you wanting to watch more as he just seems like a player that will shine at the next level.
Eric Miller, Creighton, D, Jr. – His US U-20 experience will get him some attention but really it comes down to the fact that he will be the best outside back prospect in this draft. He doesn’t have any wow-factor speed but the technical ability and experience is enough to make me believe he would be a starter tomorrow for several MLS clubs.
One in question
Tommy Thompson, Indiana, F, Fr. – The San Jose Earthquakes claim their case on Thompson to be strong but there are those within the league that are questioning it. If the Quakes don’t sign him, he will go the GA route from what I’ve been told.