MLS inks Indiana's Zavaleta to Generation adidas contract

Eriq Zavaleta

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Photo courtesy of Indiana University

Major League Soccer on Monday announced a fifth college underclassman to join the 2013 Generation adidas class with Indiana University forward Eriq Zavaleta signing a league contract.

The player's agent hinted at the signing over the weekend.

Like the other four Generation adidas players unveiled on January 3, Zavaleta will be eligible for selection in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft that will be held on Thursday, January 17, at the NSCAA Convention in Indianapolis.

Zavaleta grabbed the national spotlight in December as Indiana made a run to the 2012 College Cup title with the sophomore striker registering the assist on the game-winner in the team's 1-0 victory over Georgetown.

READ: MLS signs 5 college seniors to contracts ahead of SuperDraft

At 6-foot-1, Zavaleta's frame may have helped him become a top-rated target forward, but it's the quality of his feet and distribution which excites many scouts. He scored 10 goals as a freshman and tallied another 18 in the recently concluded 2012 season.

Despite his scoring success, however, some scouts see Zavaleta's size and passing ability making him a potential candidate to be a central defender in MLS.

The 20-year-old Zavaleta is the son of former El Salvadoran national team player Carlos Zavaleta and he is the nephew of former MLS and US national team defender Greg Vanney.

Generation adidas players are typically among the top selections in the MLS SuperDraft, and they also do not count against a team's salary budget. As part of their contract, the college underclassmen also receive educational grants to continue their college education.