MLS announced four players had signed Generation adidas contracts with the league on Thursday. Connecticut junior Andre Blake, Creighton junior Eric Miller, Louisville sophomore Marlon Hairston, and Maryland sophomore Schillo Tshuma make up the initial list of Generation adidas players.
Blake is the prized prospect of the group. The Huskies goalkeeper has been regarded as the best in college soccer for the past two seasons. Blake made the bench for a World Cup qualifier with Jamaica in 2013. Blake made 39 saves in 2013 while only allowing 17 goals in 21 games. Statistically, his best season was in 2011 where he made 79 saves and only conceded 10 goals in 25 games. He was named the Big East Goalkeeper of the Year becoming the first freshman to win one of the major individual awards in the conference. Blake turned 22 in November.
Miller joins Blake in the class after three years in Omaha. Miller was a member of the U.S. U20 Men’s National Team pool during the build-up to the 2013 World Cup. He played as a center back during the training camp in Carson, Calif. However, his professional prospects likely lie at left back. Miller played in 63 games during his three collegiate seasons and made two trips to College Cup.
Like Miller, Hairston saw his stock grow with an appearance at the U.S. U20 MNT camp over the summer prior to the college season. The center midfielder made 20 starts in 2013 and finished with three goals and two assists. He scored three goals and contributed three assists as a freshman in 2012. Hairston’s game is comparable to Shalrie Joseph, as he has a certain glide to his movements around the field as well as a destructive nature on the tackle. The Jackson, Miss.-native is the cousin of NBA All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge.
Tshuma rounds out the initial class of Generation adidas players. The Maryland sophomore hit a slump this season after bursting onto the scene in 2012. Tshuma scored 10 goals and dished out two assists during his freshman season. He still managed six goals and an assist as a sophomore. His athleticism and speed made him an easy target for MLS clubs always in search of a gifted winger.
The league also announced that seniors Patrick Mullins (Maryland) and Steve Neumann (Georgetown) had signed contracts with the league. Mullins was the 2012 MAC Hermann Trophy winner – the award handed out to the best player in college soccer. Neumann helped Georgetown to a College Cup appearance in 2012 and concluded his collegiate career with 41 goals and 34 assists over four seasons with the Hoyas.