January 2, MLS and adidas announced four young college soccer players who signed 2014 Generation adidas contracts and will enter the league as top prospects through the 2014 MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 16 in Philadelphia, Pa.
MLS also signed two college seniors in advance of the SuperDraft and invited nine more players to the 2014 adidas MLS Player Combine that begins next Friday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Among the 2014 Generation adidas class are Andre Blake (University of Connecticut), Marlon Hairston (University of Louisville), Eric Miller (Creighton University) and Ntokozo “Schillo” Tshuma (University of Maryland).
In addition to playing with one of Major League Soccer’s 19 clubs, players who join MLS as part of the Generation adidas program get educational grants to further their college education and don't count against an MLS team’s salary budget.
Who picks the Generation adidas signees?
"MLS teams make the recommendations to the MLS League office to extend the contract offers," agent McCabe told me. "Adidas obviously some input, but in the end they’re not having the final say in terms of who gets offered a contract. It’s the MLS teams themselves. They may come from a National Team recommendation. There were several players this year that came from the U-20 National Team, but by and large these guys have been scouted by MLS teams themselves."
2014 Generation adidas Players
Andre Blake GK Mary Pen, Jamaica U Conn
The junior goalkeeper was named an All-American for the third straight year, earning back-to-back First Team nods in 2012 and 2013, and has been a member of the U-17 and U-20 Jamaican national teams.
Marlon Hairston M Jackson, Miss Louisville
The sophomore midfielder and member of the U.S. U-20 national team pool played in 39 games during his first two seasons, contributing six goals and five assists.
Eric Miller D Woodbury, MI Creighton
The junior defender started 62 of 63 games during his tenure at Creighton and represented the U.S. in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey.
Ntokozo “Schillo” Tshuma F Bulawayo, Zimbabwe UMD
The sophomore forward helped Maryland advance to the 2013 Men’s College Cup final, scoring six goals on the season.
2 new young MLS signings
MLS also signed two of the top college seniors: Patrick Mullins (University of Maryland) and Steve Neumann (Georgetown University).
Patrick Mullins F New Orleans, Louisiana UMD
The back-to-back First Team All-American and MAC Hermann Trophy finalist lead Maryland in scoring for the 2013 season with 19 goals in 26 games played.
Steve Neumann F New Hope, PA Georgetown
A Second Team All-American for two years in a row, Neumann has been indispensable for the Hoyas in his last two seasons with 20 goals and 19 assists.
MLS Combine invitees
In addition to the initial list of Division I college seniors invited to the Combine, MLS invited nine more college seniors, including:
Player Position Citizenship School
Tesho Akindele F USA/Canada Colorado School of Mines (D2)
Chris Duvall D USA Wake Forest
Oliver Gore F England Rocky Mountain College (NAIA)
Pierre Omanga F France SNHU (D2)
Fabio Pereira MF Brazil U Michigan
Kyle Renfro GK USA Virginia Tech
Patrick Slogic D Brazil Cornell
Wojciech Wojcik F USA Bradley
Tomislav Zadro MF Canada U Wisconsin