Five years ago, MLS shook with the cataclysmic impact of its Generation adidas class. It was hard to understand its true impact at the time - these were still rookies, after all - but the league was about to undergo a significant shift.
A half decade later, and the GA project appears to be limping along, at best. What the heck happened?
The primary driver we have in analyzing the tectonic shift in importance is in numbers. The GA initiative reached its high water mark in 2010, when the league inked a record 13 players to specialized draft contracts easing their roster burden. That number has been in steady decline ever since, with the 2011 class marking the last time MLS signed double digits to GA deals.
We bottomed out in 2015 with a record low five players signed to GA contracts, and only two played much time at all in 2015 (although I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one was Cyle Larin, the greatest MLS rookie of all time). That’s a long way from a halcyon days five years earlier.