, MLS has signed seven players to Generation adidas contracts for 2011: Forward Darlington Nagbe, defenders Kofi Sarkodie and Zarek Valentin and midfielder Michael Nanchoff (all of national champion Akron), Indiana striker Will Bruin, Penn State striker Corey Hertzog and Maryland goalkeeper Zac MacMath. MLS is expected to cap the GA class this year to nine total players, with U.S. U-20 striker Omar Salgado already signed. There are several potential players still eligible to sign, including another Akron player, Perry Kitchen.
Generation adidas is a joint venture by MLS and adidas, with the goal of enticing talented young Americans to turn professional (either avoiding college or leaving college early) in order to keep them in the U.S. instead of going straight to Europe. Notable GA graduates include Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley, DeMarcus Beasley, Jozy Altidore and Freddy Adu. Sporting Kansas City currently has only one GA player, striker Teal Bunbury. Midfielder/defender Chance Myers and defender Roger Espinoza graduated the program at the end of this year.
Other notable ex-GA players in KC history: Nick Garcia, Jose Burciaga Jr. and Ryan Pore. Josh Wolff, Kei Kamara and Eddie Johnson are also graduates of the program, though they weren't on KC's roster at the time.
The MLS SuperDraft is Jan. 13 in Baltimore. Sporting Kansas City has the 10th pick in the draft.
In other youth development news, Sporting Kansas City home-grown player Jon Kempin was not called into a U-20 training camp set for early January. Kempin, a goalkeeper, played for the U-20s in the Torneo de las Americas earlier this year. Most recently, he traveled with the U.S. U-18 squad to Israel for a four-team tournament appearing in two games and notching a clean sheet in one.