MLS announced Wednesday the 2009 class of Generation adidas players that will enter the professional ranks for the 2009 MLS season. MLS teams and adidas identified nine players and signed them to MLS contracts before the completion of their NCAA eligibility. All are eligible to be selected in the upcoming 2009 MLS SuperDraft.
Highlighting this year's class are three members of the University of Maryland's national championship team and Steve Zakuani, the leading scorer in NCAA Division I this year, who is also a finalist for this year's MAC Hermann Trophy.
Last year's class of nine Generation adidas players produced six of the first eight overall selections in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft, including the top three selections -- Chance Myers (Kansas City Wizards, No. 1 overall), Brek Shea (FC Dallas, No. 2), and Anthony Beltran (Real Salt Lake, No. 3).
The 2009 MLS SuperDraft takes place at the St. Louis Convention Center on Thursday, Jan. 15 at 2 p.m. ET. The first hour will be broadcast live on ESPN2; the remainder of the draft can be followed on ESPNsoccernet.com.
The players who join MLS as part of the Generation adidas program receive unprecedented opportunities to develop their game and hone their skills at the professional level in Major League Soccer. In addition to training and playing with one of Major League Soccer's 15 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.
All nine players will participate in the adidas MLS Player Combine Jan. 9-13 at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
2009 Generation adidas class:
Kevin Alston, D, Indiana
Danny Cruz, M, Nevada Las Vegas
Stefan Frei, GK, California
Omar Gonzalez, D, Maryland
Jeremy Hall, M, Maryland
Baggio Husidic, M, University of Illinois-Chicago
Peri Marosevic, F, Michigan
Rodney Wallace, M, Maryland
Steve Zakuani, F, Akron