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How the 2016 class restored GA's luster

Article Written by Will Parchman
Published: October 13, 2016

At least historically, Generation adidas classes are far more unpredictable than you might expect. These players, after all, are supposedly culled from the best college soccer has to offer at the freshman, sophomore and junior levels. You should probably expect to hit on a majority of the signees every year. Right?

Not quite how it tends to work.

Most years, if the GA class produces two consistent pros within the first 12 months it’s hit the norm. If it can push out four to five within its first two seasons, you can reasonably call it a success when measured against its peers. Otherwise you end up with a class like 2007, which missed on nearly all of its marks. Maurice Edu emerged immediately, Chris Seitz emerged after about seven years and as for the rest? Straw to the wind.

Up through 2015, GA classes had been shrinking in size and relevancy for years. There are three consistent MLS starters combined from the 2013 and 2014 classes, which was most likely a factor in the 2015 class’s record-small size of just five players.

But the 2015 class went a long way toward restoring confidence in the initiative, beleaguered though it may be. Of its five signees, three turned into everyday starters. Cyle Larin might be the best GA signing in league history after shattering the rookie goals record in 2015, Cristian Roldan is now an unquestioned starter in the middle for Seattle at 21, and Alex Bono is breaking through as Toronto’s starting goalkeeper.

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