2013 MLS Draft Update: Lopez the latest GA signing, Finley inks senior deal, and more

By IVES GALARCEP

The 2013 MLS Draft class continues to take shape as we draw closer to the new year, and at least one more Generation adidas prospect has reached a deal with Major League Soccer.

Sources have told SBI that North Carolina midfielder Mikey Lopez has signed a Generation adidas contract and is now the fifth player to reach terms on a GA deal with MLS. He joins Andrew Farrell, Walker Zimmerman, J.J. Johnson and Kekuta Manneh as signed players. Central Florida forward DeShorn Brown has been offered a contract, and is expected to sign, but sources tell SBI he has yet to reach an agreement.

That leaves Indiana forward/centerback Eriq Zavaleta as the last player expected to be offered a Generation adidas deal. As of Friday, Zavaleta has yet to sign a deal, according to sources with knowledge of the GA class.

Here is the latest on the senior front:

Notre Dame forward Ryan Finley has signed a senior contract with MLS, becoming the fourth college senior to sign a deal. He joins Maryland midfielder John Stertzer, UConn playmaker Carlos Alvarez and Notre Dame midfielder Dillon Powers. Sources tell SBI that New Mexico’s Blake Smith and Santa Clara’s Erik Hurtado are the next in line to receive offers, though both may have to impress at next month’s MLS Combine to secure pre-draft contracts.

In other MLS Draft developments, sources have confirmed to SBI that Cal-State Northridge fullback Joe Franco will miss the MLS Combine due to a torn ACL he sustained in his final college game of the season. Franco had been projected as the top natural right back in the draft, and is said to be recovering well from ACL surgery, which makes it a good possibility that he will still be selected in the two-round 2013 MLS Draft.

Franco’s injury raises the number of players set to miss the MLS Combine to three. he joins UCLA’s Ryan Hollingshead (stepping away from soccer to do charity work) and Louisville Paolo DelPiccolo (going on trial with German side Eintracht Frankfurt) among those who will miss the Combine. No word yet on replacements.

What do you think of these developments? Think Lopez can be an impact player? Hoping MLS can sign Zavaleta?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Featured, MLS Combine 2013, MLS Draft 2013. Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to 2013 MLS Draft Update: Lopez the latest GA signing, Finley inks senior deal, and more

  1. Dinho says:

    What is a “senior contract”?

    • Paul Miller says:

      I think it just means he’s not playing for the youth academy.

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      It’s basically an MLS contract, as in the player has a guaranteed contract before the draft. Only the top seniors are signed before the draft, and those are usually the only non-GA players who earn salaries above the minimum or close to minimum.

  2. Cam says:

    Ives, can you explain a little about GA, and it’s impact (good and bad) on the growth and development of MLS as a league.

    • Vic says:

      Generation Addidas gives offers to top underclassmen to come out of college early. They used to be 4 year contracts ranging from approximately 80k to 220k per year. Supposedly they’re switching to shorter contracts to provide more money for homegrown players. The contracts don’t count against the team’s salary cap. If you google “Generation Addidas Wiki” you will see a list of all players. The program has been a great success.

      • Ives Galarcep says:

        Cheaper contracts with more option years and fewer guaranteed years, not exactly shorter contracts.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Stop me where this quits making logical sense, but if homegrown status means “dibs” then what is the point of allocating more money to pay players over which there is a domestic first division monopoly? Unless they are willing to play for Carolina like Gale A. — and he had the last year with Traffic to play out — then it should be verging on take it or leave it. Plus, if I have to beg the player out of school with more money, then is the mutual relationship that strong where “dibs” are appropriate?

        Ibeagha comes to mind. Every year Houston makes an offer and every year he goes back to Duke. Every year at Duke he justifies it with some new youth NT he wants to make, U20 a few years back, last year U23. Duke presumably is playing the key role in his development these days, not the Dynamo. If he’s not that interested in the Dynamo, a little more money won’t change it. If he was that excited about the Dynamo, he’d have probably signed for some initial offer. If we have to beg how is it really valuable to have homegrowns?

        I think the money was better used for something like GA where we compete to sign the best available players, over whom no one has dibs, and who may in fact have foreign suitors. But for a player where just one team has “dibs,” allocating more money might actually be incentivizing the homegrown to hold out for a bigger payday.

        • H-town says:

          It has been well documented that Ibeagha and his mother are very keen on him finishing college. It is very important to him. The Dynamo offer a contract every year just to see if he changed his mind, but it is understood that he will finish school and then sign as a homegrown with the Dynamo.

        • vic says:

          They aren’t looking to pay homegrown players more. They’re looking to sign more of them.

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      That’s not exactly an “explain a little” request.

  3. Sly says:

    Charity work? Wow good for him an upstanding individual Im sure. Yeah I know he could prob get more done like Drogba and Eto but everyone has their own cross to bear. Wish him the best.

    • Paul Miller says:

      Everyone has to make the decisions that are right for him. Soccer isn’t everything; at least not to everyone.

    • Good Jeremy says:

      Good for him.
      I know a lot of Mormons leave for two years for their missions and come back, but I have never heard of a pro prospect quit completely for his cause.

  4. SD says:

    If DelPiccolo impresses at Frankfurt, do we know how he will qualify for a visa? I know the process is far more difficult in the UK. Not sure how difficult Germany is.

    • Joe+G says:

      Shouldn’t be an issue… DelPiccolo’s grandfather was born in Italy and Paolo almost certainly qualifies for an Italian passport.

      • spudder says:

        He has a German passport.

        • Joe+G says:

          It’s sorta academic as long as he has an EU passport, but where did you find that info? I couldn’t find any connection to Germany, but the Italian one was easy to find.

          Just curious.

  5. Bobb says:

    Does Chivas USA select Mikey Lopez because he’s Hispanic, given all the recent talk from the owner and new coach?
    And if so, do they reach for him at their current spot, or do they trade down?

    • Paul Miller says:

      Lopez is small and plays small in more big games (even at collegiate level) than you’d like to see if your a pro scout. I thought he should have gone back to Carolina for a year.

      • Bobb says:

        Right, I’m not saying he should be a high draft pick, I’m wondering if Chivas USA will take him because they have other considerations like ethnicity.

      • Parzival says:

        Gotta agree with this. Was not as impressed with him in his sophomore year once you took all the seniors away.

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      Click the MLS 2013 draft category in our menu bar and you’ll learn everything you need to know. We’ve covered it all in recent weeks.

  6. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    What is going on with Mullins? Is he coming back for his senior year?

  7. THomas says:

    Is there a limit as to how many GA contracts can be given out? When I was looking it seemed to fluctuate from year to year. Is it just based on how much talent there is worth paying for in a given year?

    • Vic says:

      Don’t think there’s a limit. MLS can do whatever they want, and usually do.

      • Vic says:

        Actually let me correct myself just read this “In a way, HGP contracts are a revised version of Generation Adidas contracts (previously called Project-40), the very type of contract Califf signed when he joined MLS in 2000. Generation Adidas contracts, funded by Adidas”. So if Addidas funds it then there’s probably a limit.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Adidas is paying MLS something like $25 million/year for the shirt monopoly. And then they make money back on merchandising I’m sure.

          So, while there is usually “x” number of GAs said to exist each year, I think I’ve seen it get more fuzzy in practice. Kid Y says he’ll come out early and presumably Adidas signs another check which is a percentage drop in the bucket compared to the sponsorship…..$100-150K? So it’s not a blank check but I doubt Adidas freaks over one more player.

          It’s also interesting to me that the USL minors idea being bounced around (you send a certain amount of players down or field your reserves) seems to revive aspects of the old Project 40, which at one point involved a freestanding draft pick-type team playing a minor league-type schedule.

  8. twotone says:

    I thought Mikey Lopez qualified as a HG player for the Dynamo. is that not right? if he does qualify, did they pass on signing him and now he’s chosen to sign with MLS as a GA?

  9. MLSsnob says:

    Wahoo! Time for the combine boys! Anyone else besides me going?

  10. SonicDeathMonkey says:

    Never mind the combine, I just finished season 3 of The Wire! Wow….just wow. I can’t believe I missed out on this show for so many years. :/

  11. unbeknownst says:

    Is Ryan Hollingshead still eligible to draft this year? Is it a two year Mormon mission like Shawn Bradley’s?

    If Hollingshead still has draft eligibility I’d like to see the Galaxy use both of their 2nd round SuperDraft picks on both Hollingshead and Joe Franco. Unless, that is, if we don’t use those picks to move up to one of the top three spots to grab Zimmerman.

    • Joe+G says:

      Most Mormon missions are for 2 years.

      • unbeknownst says:

        I realize that.

        But is he going to be out of soccer for two years? Is it a Mormon mission? Most men start their mission at 18yo.

    • Good Jeremy says:

      Is it even a Mormon mission? The only young people I have heard of who willingly walk away from elite sports are Mormons going on missions, but all the article says is charity work and google can’t find any info either way.

      • Champion says:

        I am almost sure that Ryan is not Mormon. To my knowledge is very committed to his faith in Jesus Christ and the Lord is leading him to the mission field in Haiti.

        • Soccerhorn says:

          I am an atheist. But the world could use a few more Ryan Hollingsheads. Imagine, say, Mike Vick taking a year away from the NFL to help people?

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