[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.