Major League Soccer has announced 11 distinguished college players in the 2023 Generation adidas class and released the tentative list of players eligible for selection in Wednesday's MLS SuperDraft 2023 presented by adidas.
Generation adidas is a joint program between MLS and adidas that sees a handful of top collegiate underclassmen and youth national team players signed by MLS to Generation adidas contracts and made available in the SuperDraft. In order to provide Generation adidas players with the best professional environment, Generation adidas player salaries are not charged against an MLS team's annual salary budget, providing an added incentive for that club to develop the player. Eventually, these GA players graduate to senior player contracts and their salaries are charged against a team's budget.
Seven players at the 2022 FIFA World Cup began their MLS careers through the Generation adidas program, including US men’s national team defender Walker Zimmerman (No. 7, 2013) and Canada national team winger Tajon Buchanan (No. 9, 2019).
Bowling Green State University
University of Maryland
University of New Hampshire
San Diego State University
San Diego, Calif.
University of Pittsburgh
University of North Carolina, Greensboro
University of Washington
Joey Akpunonu (D, Bowling Green)
A Toledo, Ohio native, Joey Akpunonu became one of the best defenders in college soccer at Bowling Green State. In 2022, he was an All-MAC first-team selection after leading the team with six goals from defense and playing every second of his 16 starts for the Falcons. Akpunonu also played 1,866 of the team's 1,877 total minutes in 2021 and was named to the All-MAC second team. A biology major, he was selected to the 2022 Academic All-America first team by the College Sports Communicators after finishing the year with a 4.0 GPA.
Joshua Bolma (M, Maryland)
Only the fourth player in Maryland history to earn multiple first-team All-Big Ten honors, Joshua Bolma starred in his two years with the Terrapins. In 2022, his eight assists were tied for the second most in the Big Ten. Bolma was also named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2021 after producing four goals and four assists in 18 games. After growing up in Ghana, Bolma went on to play at South Kent High School in Connecticut where he won a high school national championship.
Moise Bombito (D, New Hampshire)
New Hampshire defender Moise Bombito blossomed into one of the best players in the country during his junior year with the Wildcats. Bombito earned 2022 America East Defender of the Year and was named a second team All-American selection, after helping lead a defense that was third in the nation with a 0.5 goals against average. A native of Montréal, Québec, he started his career at Iowa Western Community College where he won the NJCAA National Championship in the fall of 2021.
Hamady Diop (D, Clemson)
One of Clemson’s key defenders for three seasons, Hamady Diop was named Second-Team All-ACC in 2022 after starting 13 games for the Tigers. It marked the second consecutive season Diop earned the honor. He started his career with the Tigers in 2020 where he was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team.
CJ Fodrey (F, San Diego State)
CJ Fodrey was named the 2022 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, becoming the first San Diego State player since 2006 to win a Pac-12 major award. Fodrey played in all 18 matches with 17 starts and led the team in both points (18) and goals (seven). After spending time with MLS NEXT club Albion SC San Diego, he then joined the LA Galaxy academy in 2019 before moving to the San Diego Loyal, where he was coached by National Soccer Hall of Famer Landon Donovan. Fodrey made two appearances with Loyal’s first team in 2021 and scored his first professional goal.
Bertin Jacquesson (F, Pittsburgh)
A three-time All-ACC Second Team selection (2020-22), Pittsburgh’s Bertin Jacquesson ranked second in program history with 23 assists. In 2022, he finished second on the team with eight goals and five assists, including three goals in the NCAA Tournament. Jacquesson was also named 2020 ACC Freshman of the Year after producing seven assists in 18 appearances. He previously played in RC Strasbourg’s academy and grew up in Lorrez-Le-Bocage, France.
Shakur Mohammed (F, Duke)
Duke forward Shakur Mohammed scored a team-high 10 goals in 2022 and was named a MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist, first-team All-American and ACC Offensive Player of the Year in his sophomore season. A Kumasi, Ghana native, he finished the year with three multi-goal games and earned ACC Offensive Player of the Week honors twice. Mohammed produced three goals and seven assists in 2021, en route to being voted ACC Freshman of the Year and All-ACC second team. A dorm leader at Millbrook School in New York, he played a key role in their 2018 Class C New England Championship.
J.C. Ngando (M, UNC Greensboro)
The SoCon Player of the Year, J.C. Ngando contributed 14 assists in 2022, which was tied for the second most in the country, helping UNC Greensboro to the NCAA Division I Quarterfinals for the first time in program history. Ngando built off his 2021 campaign where he was named SoCon Freshman of the Year after recording five goals and eight assists in his inaugural season. Ngando is originally from Paris and spent time with Paris FC.
Owen O’Malley (M, Creighton)
An integral midfielder during Creighton’s run to a 2022 National Championship appearance, Owen O’Malley finished with eight goals and six assists on the year, earning All-BIG EAST first-team honors. In 2021, he saw action in 18 games (10 starts), totaling 936 minutes and one assist for the Blue Jays. O’Malley grew up in Cary, N.C. and returned to his hometown for the 2022 Men’s College Cup with Creighton. His sister, Shea, plays soccer at Indiana and his father, Patrick, played soccer at Villanova.
Ilijah Paul (F, Washington)
Washington forward Ilijah Paul proved to be one of the best offensive players in the country during his first full season of college soccer. Paul was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and a MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist after scoring 11 goals in 2022. A Gilbert, Ariz. native, Paul spent time with the Real Salt Lake Academy and Barça Residency Academy when growing up.
Joey Skinner (D, Clemson)
One of Clemson’s key defenders this season, sophomore Joey Skinner saw action in every single game for the Tigers in 2022, scoring twice and providing one assist. Skinner transferred from UNC Greensboro, in which he was a first-team All-SoCon selection as a freshman in 2021. The Spartans produced the best goal differential in the country (+38) and Skinner chipped in with four goals and seven assists.