NEW YORK — Recently crowned NCAA champions, the Akron Zips will now stock a few MLS teams with high-class talent. The league today unveiled a list of 14 underclassmen who will form part of the Generation adidas class of 2011, with nearly half of the signings coming from Akron.
The list is heavy on attacking talent, headlined by Darlington Nagbe, who led the high-scoring Zips with 13 assists in 2010 and is the early favorite to become the No. 1 selection in next month's SuperDraft (January 13). Although the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps hold the first pick, the playmaker has MLS clubs angling to trade up the draft order to acquire him.
Three forwards join Nagbe in the SuperDraft, including US Under-20 international striker Omar Salgado, who signed an MLS contract after leaving Chivas Guadalajara’s youth team in the summer. Will Bruin (18 goals for Indiana) and Corey Hertzog (20 goals for Penn State) are the other high-scoring collegiate forwards who will be joining MLS clubs at the SuperDraft.
[inline_node:324460]The two defenders in this year’s Generation adidas class are US Under-20 teammates Kofi Sarkodie and Zarek Valentin, both of the University of Akron. The one goalkeeper on the list, Zac Macmath, backstopped College Cup quarterfinalists Maryland.
Generation adidas contracts provide the opportunity for players to leave college early and continue to develop their soccer careers in MLS. The salaries of these players are greater than the league minimum and the players are also provided educational funds should they decide to return to school. Their salaries also do not count against a club’s salary budget, allowing teams to afford them time to develop.
2011 GENERATION ADIDAS CLASS (alphabetical order)
Will Bruin (forward, Indiana University)
Corey Hertzog (forward, Penn State University)
Perry Kitchen (midfielder, University of Akron)
Zac MacMath (goalkeeper, University of Maryland)
Darlington Nagbe (midfielder/forward, University of Akron)
Michael Nanchoff (midfielder, University of Akron)
Omar Salgado (forward, unattached)
Kofi Sarkodie (defender, University of Akron)
Zarek Valentin (defender, University of Akron)