Major League Soccer
Indiana, UCLA each lose two underclassmen to Generation adidas.
Of the 11 players, six have participated recently with U.S. youth national teams. Of the nine college players, eight were members of the SoccerTimes.com College Coaches All-American team. All will participate in the MLS player combine that started today and runs through Sunday in Carson, Calif., and then will be made available to league teams through the draft January 20 in Philadelphia.
Indiana University and UCLA were hit hardest, each losing two players.
IU saw a pair of juniors depart -- striker and leading 2005 scorer Jacob Peterson, 19, and defender Jed Zayner, 21, who led a defense that recorded 13 shutouts in 25 games this past season. MLS also went after IU forward Lee Nguyen, but the freshman chose instead to sign with Dutch powerhouse PSV Eindhoven, which also employs U.S. men's star midfielder DaMarcus Beasley.
Peterson and Zayner were members of the Hoosiers NCAA Division I championship teams of 2003 and 2004, and helped IU compile a 17-3-5 record last season, only to have its campaign end with two losses. The Hoosiers fell 1-0 to Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament final and then, after receiving a first-round bye, had their title defense derailed by Notre Dame 2-1 in the second round of the national tournament.
"You're happy for the players because they've reached their goals," Indiana coach Mike Freitag said. "You're sad because it makes it difficult."
UCLA said goodbye to 19-year old defender Marvell Wynne, the SoccerTimes.com "Defender of the Year," and midfielder Patrick Ianni, 20.
Other collegians to give up remaining eligibility were North Carolina sophomore midfielder Dax McCarty, 18, once a member of the U.S. under-17 residency camp, as will as playing for U-15, U-16 and U-18 sides; California State-Northridge junior forward Willie Sims, 21; and sophomore forward Kei Kamara, 21, of California State-Dominguez Hills.
Sims was born in Guatemala and Kamara in Sierra Leone, but both hold green cards and thus will not be classified as international players on their MLS roster.
Two players come for the U.S. under-17 men's team that advanced to the quarterfinals and finished fifth in the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Peru -- defender Blake Wagner, 17, and forward Josmer Altidore, 16.
Generation adidas is in its second season as an MLS youth development program designed to identify elite young players in the U.S. and sign them to MLS teams. Generation adidas players receive grants to complete their college educations in addition to their salaries, which are partially paid by adidas and do not count against a club's salary cap.
Generation adidas replaced a similar program, Nike's Project 40.
2006 Generation adidas roster:
Player, age, position. hometown, prior team (college unless otherwise noted):
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