Major League Soccer's Generation Adidas list and how it might impact the expansion draft

So with the announcements of the protected and available players by clubs, there was also the announcement of which players had graduated from Generation Adidas.  This is a huge list for teams as it puts the liability for a players pay back on the team after not having them count against the salary cap, in fact the 11 players who graduated from the program this year account for over $1.6 million dollars in guaranteed salary.  Here is the list of graduated players:

Sean Johnson*

CHI

Blair Gavin

CHV

Zarek Valentin

CHV

Dilly Duka*

CLB

Tony Tchani*

CLB

Josh  Lambo

DAL

 Perry Kitchen*

DC

Daniel Cruz

HOU

Teal Bunbury*

KC

Danny Mwanga*

PHI

Peri Marosevic

TOR

Those with an * have been protected by their team for Wednesday's expansion draft. While 5 of the 11 have been left unprotected in what might be a move motivated by money as teams look to work within the salary cap.

The rest of the Generation Adidas list as well as some more details on the program after the jump:

Here is the list of the players who will remain on the program for the 2012 season:

Corben Bone

CHI

Andrew Wiedeman

DAL

Will Bruin

HOU

Kofi Sarkodie

HOU

Corey Hertzog

NY

 Zac MacMath

PHI

Jack McInerney

PHI

Amobi Okugo

PHI

Darlington Nagbe

POR

Luis Gil

RSL

Michael Tetteh

SEA

David Bingham

SJ

Ike Opara

SJ

Michael Nanchoff

VAN

Omar Salgado

VAN

So do you know what Generation Adidas is?  Early last year ussoccerplayers.com had perhaps the best post ever on the program. Here are a couple of the highlights:

Tell me about the Generaton adidas program.

The program is designed to fast track talented select players into the professional game either straight from high school or college. In doing so, it provides incentive laden contracts that would be greater than they would might receive if they had completed college.  It's a clear financial incentive for having them either bypass college or leave college early.

In addition, players are  provided with money to continue their education.. The average age is 20 or 21 but players as young as 15 have signed contracts. Between sophomore and junior year is probably when most players leave.

and

Who picks them?

MLS teams make the recommendations to the MLS League office to extend the contract offers. Adidas obviously some input, but in the end they're not having the final say in terms of who gets offered a contract. It's the MLS teams themselves. They may come from a National Team recommendation. There were several players this year that came from the U-20 National Team, but by and large these guys have been scouted by MLS teams themselves.

There's a preliminary list of probably 20-25 players that circulates and that is gradually reduced. It's a process that goes on for probably eight weeks in the Fall. As teams see more players at the end of the season, often players are added late into the process.

and finally one of the big issues with the GA program:

Is the GA pay in the locker room a problem? When you get a guy like Amaechi Igwe who's making about $105k and on the bench and Jeff Larentowicz is making $30k-plus every week and starting, is that a problem?

I think it is. It's going to continue to be a problem, but there's always going to be players who make more money than other players and that dynamic is not going to change. What is hard for all the players to swallow is, why are these younger guys who haven't proved anything getting this money?

The challenge is how to keep players here in the MLS. The only way is to overpay a little bit to keep them. I don't think that problem is going away. I think it's potentially going to get worse until the League begins to pay all players better.  European teams are paying close attention to our young players and if we want to try and keep the best ones here to grow the MLS, then the GA compensation levels are justifiable.

There is much more information in the article and I suggest you take some time to jump over and check it out. I like the idea of Generation Adidas but with players being drafted it often means that these players are going to some of the worst teams in the league and I am not sure that is the best for them but if you look at the list of the players currently on the program you can see some players who are already making a big impact for their clubs.

With players on the program protected from the expansion draft, only 5 of the 26 players that started the season on the list will be available for selection on Wednesday, but a couple of them are guys who did well with their teams this year and likely aren't being protected only as a financial move.  Daniel Cruz of the Houston Dynamo and Zarek Valentine of Chivas USA both seem like players who might catch the attention of the Montreal Impact.

It will be interesting to see with 11 players graduating how many players are added to the list this year, but more on that as we get closer to the January, 12th MLS Draft.

OFF MY SOAPBOX

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