With the 2015 MLS SuperDraft just a day away, we take a look at how the draft functions, its history, and the impact of Generation adidas (GA) on the entire process.
Collegiate players from the United States make up the player pool for the draft. [Canadian colleges have yet to be included in the draft, but proposals were considered in 2010 and 2012.] Players may leave school early to declare for the draft if they receive a Generation Adidas contract.
First established in 1997 as Nike’s “Project-40,” Generation adidas is a joint venture between MLS and adidas to increase the level of youth soccer in America. The program encourages players to leave college early for the SuperDraft, and signs them to professional contracts. These contracts are usually a great deal higher than the league minimum and also provide collegiate scholarships for the players after their career is over. Notable Generation adidas signings in the past include Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey, Kyle Beckerman, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley.
Here are the players that are signed to GA contracts for 2015.
Alex Bono - G - Syracuse
Conor Donovan - D - NC State
Cyle Larin - F - Connecticut
Cristian Roldan - M - Washington
Romario Williams - F - UCF
The 2015 MLS SuperDraft will be the league's 16th draft. At its start in 2000, the draft was six rounds long, but the current SuperDraft consists of only four rounds. Two rounds will be selected Thursday, January 13th at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. The following two rounds will take place via conference call five days later on January 20th.
The draft order is separated into six tiers, with an added seventh tier in expansion years. During expansion years, the first pick, or two picks if two teams are entering, are reserved for the expansion teams. The following teams are separated in order as follows: non-playoff teams, teams eliminated in the knockout round, team eliminated in the conference semi-finals, teams eliminated in the conference championships, MLS Cup runner cup, and then the MLS Cup Champion.
Scouting the 2015 MLS Player Scouting Combine
Orlando City SC holds the first selection in this year’s draft thanks to winning a blind draw held with New York City FC in September of 2014. They also hold selections 22 and 25 in round 2. Orlando acquired pick 25 when they sent expansion draft selection Mark Sherrod to the San Jose Earthquakes. On day two of the draft, Orlando City own selections 43 and 63.
Thursday’s draft will start at 12:30ET. Full Orlando City SC coverage and a live stream of the event can be found on www.OrlandoCitySC.com.