MLS, adidas unveil 2008 Generation adidas Class

Major League Soccer and adidas has announced the 2008 class of Generation adidas players that will enter the professional ranks for the 2008 Major League Soccer season. MLS and adidas identified nine of the most promising soccer players in the United States. These players signed MLS contracts before completing their NCAA eligibility and can be selected in the upcoming 2008 MLS SuperDraft.

Last season's class of eight Generation adidas players produced seven of the 13 first round selections in the SuperDraft, including the top three of the top five selections - Maurice Edu (Toronto FC, 1st overall), Bakary Soumare (Chicago Fire, 2nd overall) and Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake, 4th overall).

The 2008 MLS SuperDraft takes place at the Baltimore Convention Center (400 Level Ballroom) on Friday, Jan. 18 (ESPN2/ at 2 p.m. ET. Up-to-date draft information including the current draft order and draft previews can be found by logging onto the SuperDraft homepage.

Highlighting this year's class are seven players that have experience with the U.S. Youth National Teams and a finalist for this year's MAC Hermann Trophy, college soccer's version of the Heisman Trophy. Six of the nine players are leaving college early to enter the MLS SuperDraft - Eric Avila (UC Santa Barbara), Tony Beltran (UCLA), Chance Myers (UCLA), Patrick Nyarko (Virginia Tech), Ciaran O'Brien (UC Santa Barbara) and Rob Valentino (Univ. of San Francisco). Three players - Josh Lambo (Chicago Magic FC), Alex Nimo (FC Portland) and Brek Shea (Texans FC) - are high school students who are foregoing their college eligibility to sign professional contracts.

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 14 professional clubs, Generation adidas players receive educational grants to further their college education. Additional Generation adidas player signings may occur prior to the 2008 MLS Season.

Avila and Myers are currently training with the U.S. Men's U-23 National Team while they prepare for Olympic Qualifying to begin in March. Myers has appeared with the U.S. U-17 and U-20 National Teams. Beltran was a member of the U-20 Men's National Team that advanced to the quarterfinals of last year's FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada.

Lambo, Nimo and Shea were members of the U-17 World Cup Team that competed in last year's Youth World Championship in Korea. Lambo played in 12 games, starting nine in 2007 for the U-17s. Nimo played in 12 international games, scoring six goals for the U-17s in 2007. Shea played in 11 international games, starting seven, for the U-17s in 2007.

Nyarko, a forward from Virginia Tech, led the Hokies to their first ever NCAA Final Four appearance in 2007 where they fell to eventual NCAA Champion Wake Forest. He recorded seven goals and 10 assists during the season, was named to the 2007 NSCAA/adidas NCAA Men's Division I All-America Team and is a finalist for the Mac Hermann Trophy, honoring the country's top Division I collegiate soccer player. The award will be announced this Friday, Jan. 11 in St. Louis.

The class of nine Generation adidas players range in age from 17 to 22 years old, and they represent a broad area of the country. Five players are from the West Coast of the United States (California, Oregon and Washington), one from the Midwest (Wisconsin), the southwest (Arizona), the south (Texas) and one player that comes from the African nation of Ghana. Eight of the nine Generation adidas players will compete at the adidas MLS Player Combine. The complete rosters for the adidas MLS Player Combine are included below.

Generation adidas, which was established ahead of the 2005 MLS season, is a player development program that identifies and nurtures the elite youth soccer talent in the United States. Last year, Generation adidas midfielder Edu was the No. 1 overall selection for Toronto FC and went to capture Gatorade Rookie of the Year honors and earned his first U.S. Men's National Team cap in 2007. The Generation adidas program has identified some of the League's top talent such as Chivas USA and U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Sacha Kljestan, New England and U.S. Men's National Team defender Michael Parkhurst and New York Red Bulls forward Jozy Altidore.

2008 Generation adidas class

National Team
Eric AvilaM20San Diego, CAUC Santa BarbaraUS U-23
Tony BeltranD20Claremont, CAUCLAUS U-20
Josh LamboG17Middleton, WIChicago Magic FCUS U-17
Chance MyersD20Thousand Oaks, CAUCLAUS U-23
Alex NimoF17Portland, ORFC PortlandUS U-18
Patrick NyarkoF22Kumasi, GhanaVirginia Tech
Ciaran O'BrienM20Tacoma, WAUC Santa Barbara
Brek SheaM17College Station, TXTexans FCUS U-18
Rob ValentinoD22Cave Creek, AZUniv. of San FranciscoUS U-23

Complete 20087 adidas MLS Combine Rosters

adidas adiPure

Brian Edwards (Wake Forest University)
Matt Allen (Creighton University)
* Sean Franklin (California State University of Northridge)
Matt Hatzke (Santa Clara University)
Shea Salinas (Furman University)
Jonathan Leathers (Furman University)
Ely Allen (University of Washington)
Eric Brunner (The Ohio State University)
George Josten (Gonzaga)
Peter Lowry (Santa Clara University)
* Pat Phelan (Wake Forest University)
Ricardo Pierre-Louis (Lee University)
Michael Videira (Duke University)
Geoff Cameron (University of Rhode Island)
Maximiliano Damiano (Argentina)
Yomby William (Old Dominion University)
+Alex Nimo (US U-18 National Team/FC Portland)

Coaches: Bobby Muuss (Denver University) and Oliver Wyss (West Coast FC)

adidas adiTunit

Andrew Kartunen (Stanford University)
* Stephen King (University of Maryland)
Jonathan Sabbatini (Argentina)
Jeremy Barlow (University of Virginia)
Matthew Britner (Brown University)
Hugh Cronin (North Carolina State University)
Pavle Dundjer (University of Illinois - Chicago)
Andre Sherard (University of North Carolina)
Cesar Zambrano (University of Illinois - Chicago)
El-Hadj Cisse (North Carolina State University)
Julius James (University of Connecticut)
Sherron Manswell (Boston College)
Brandon Owens (University of California - Los Angeles)
Keith Savage (University of West Florida)
+Tony Beltran (University of California - Los Angeles)
*+Chance Myers (University of California - Los Angeles)
+Brek Shea (U.S. U-18 National Team/Texans FC)

Coaches: Ed Kelly (Boston College) and Chris Apple (Rochester Jr. Rhinos)

adidas Predator PowerServe

Dominic Cervi (University of Tulsa)
Casey Latchem (The Ohio State University)
Eric Burkholder (University of Tulsa)
Mike Zaher (University of California - Los Angeles)
Adrian Chevannes (Southern Methodist University)
Lucas Fernandez (Argentina)
Kevin Forrest (University of Washington)
Joe Germanese (Duke University)
Brian Grazier (Saint Louis University)
Pat Healey (Towson University)
Kai Kasiguran (Messiah College)
Corey Sipos (University of Akron)
Dan Stratford (West Virginia University)
Rauwshan McKenzie (Michigan State University)
Andrew Jacobson (University of California - Berkeley)
David Horst (Old Dominion University)
+Patrick Nyarko (Virginia Tech)

Coaches: Greg Andrulis (George Mason University) and Victor Pastora (Kendall Soccer Coalition)

adidas Trofeo

AJ Kulp (Old Dominion University)
David Roth (Northwestern University)
Xavier Balc (The Ohio State University)
Ryan Cordeiro (University of Connecticut)
Ryan Miller (University of Notre Dame)
Luke Sassano (University of California - Berkeley)
Ben Shuleva (Southern Methodist University)
Lukasz Tumicz (University of Rhode Island)
* Julian Valentin (Wake Forest University)
David Worthen (University of North Carolina - Greensboro)
Scott Bolkan (Stanford University)
Andy Iro (University of California - Santa Barbara)
Scott Campbell (University of North Carolina)
*+Eric Avila (University of California - Santa Barbara)
+Josh Lambo (U.S. U-17 National Team/Chicago Magic FC)
+Ciaran O'Brien (University of California - Santa Barbara)

Coaches: Tim Lenahan (Northwestern University) and Jose Fernando Hernandez (St. Louis Soccer Club)

* Players currently with the U.S. U-23 National Team. They will be available only for games on Sunday, Jan. 13.
+ Generation adidas


All games are open to the public. All times eastern; Schedule subject to change.

Saturday, January 12

10:00 AM: Predator PowerServe vs. adiTunit (Lockhart Stadium)
12:00 PM: adiPure vs. adidas Trofeo (Lockhart Stadium)
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM: Clinic for Broward Schools (MLS Coaches to Instruct; Lockhart Stadium)

Sunday, January 13

10:00 AM: adiTunit vs. adidas Trofeo (Lockhart Stadium)
12:00 PM: Predator PowerServe vs adiPure (Lockhart Stadium)

Tuesday, January 15

9:00 AM: Predator PowerServe vs adidas Trofeo (Lockhart Stadium)
10:45 AM: adiPure vs adiTunit (Lockhart Stadium)