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Record five Akron players sign Generation adidas contracts
by Paul Kennedy, December 29th, 2010 12:41AM

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TAGS:  college men, mls

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[MLS] NCAA Division I champion Akron announced that five underclassmen -- junior striker Darlington Nagbe, junior midfielder Michael Nanchoff, junior defender Kofi Sarkodie, sophomore defender Zarek Valentin and freshman midfielder Perry Kitchen -- have signed contracts with Generation adidas and will enter the 2011 Major League Soccer SuperDraft. The five players represent the largest group of underclassmen ever signed by MLS from one school.

The other collegians signed to GA contracts are Maryland junior goalie Zac MacMath, Indiana junior forward Will Bruin and Penn State junior forward Corey Hertzog.

"This is an exciting day for the entire Akron soccer program and certainly a dream come true for this special group of Zips players,” said Zips coach Caleb Porter, who recently signed a 10-year contract extension. “It wasn’t surprising after winning the national championship that MLS identified several players as being ready for the next level. Certainly, this could be perceived as bittersweet losing so many quality underclassmen at one time but when a player is offered the coveted Generation adidas contract it gives them the best platform to enter professional soccer and I am nothing but happy for them.”
 
It is the third consecutive season an Akron player has signed a GA contract. Steve Zakuani, the top pick in the 2008 draft, came out early in 2008 and teammates Teal Bunbury and Blair Gavin followed in 2009. Bunbury was drafted No. 4 overall by Kansas City in 2010 while Gavin went No. 10 overall to Chivas USA.
 
It is just the third time in the program’s history – dating back to 1997 – more than two players have been selected from the same team. Maryland and Virginia each had three players signed in 2008 and 1997, respectively. 
 
Along with departing seniors Anthony Ampaipitakwong and Chris Korb, who have both been invited to participate in the adidas Combine in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., the Zips could have as many as seven starters from their championship team selected in the SuperDraft, which will be held in Baltimore on Jan. 13.



0 comments
  1. Clayton Berling
    commented on: December 29, 2010 at 6:28 p.m.
    Pro sports (much more than soccer!)have long used the colleges as their minor league, using taxpayer subsidies to develop pro players. I would have no problem with this if they paid back their scholarships if they do not complete their degrees (or do!) from bonus monies extracted from the clubs. In soccer's case this is probably not a big deal, but could establish a tradition other sports (e.g. ovalball football, basketball, etc.) may be shamed into accepting. It would encourage completion of education and repay our taxpayers to some extent.
  1. Robert Kiernan
    commented on: January 1, 2011 at 10:37 p.m.
    Well Clay, I tend to doubt that is likely to happen...and that also presupposes that these players are coming from "state" supported institutions which isn't always the case. But the main thing that comes into play in soccer's case is that there is a durth of real options for any Professional calaber player other than going off to Europe if he's lucky enough to be seen as being good enough by someone there... and like it or not, even at the best of collegiate soccer programs the competition simply isn't long or good enough to truly develop a player to the level he needs to reach to become a true professional, and the NCAA's regulations about outside play don't make things any better for the top youth players... they have had problems with football and basketball so they punish men's gymnastics or wrestling...or Men's soccer! Take a good long look at all those players that the NASL used to draft at 22 years ago, and think about just how few could really "play" at the level necessary to hold that job in that league...now leap forward a few decades and tell just how much has really changed? Yes there are more teams and more real slots open for them to try and hook up with an MLS team, but even there with this single entity system that has been put in place none of the individual teams has all that much real incentive to develop these players because they belong to "the league" and not to any of it's teams...and for the few that do manage to hold on, well they seem to play out their option after say four years and flee on a free transfer to play for some Scandinavian fishmen for somewhat better pay before they become too old to make that leap...this really is still rather disfuctional and does little to help keep the same players playing in the same markets which leads to fans not having as close a feeling for "their" players because they can be lost far too easily at almost any time. As far as a player getting a Degree as opposed to getting an "education" well that is a whole other can of worms and really the level of shame that most instatutions seem quite willing to put up with leads me to doubt that either they or the pro sports teams for whom they are working with/for are going to do much of anything to change much of that any time soon... not when there is money to be made! (ICE)
  1. Robert Kiernan
    commented on: January 1, 2011 at 10:39 p.m.
    Typo "Dearth"

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