Conventional wisdom says Major League Soccer teams are generally eager to take "Generation Adidas" players ahead of others in the MLS SuperDraft, because they don't count against the salary cap and are typically regarded as among the best prospects.
But coach Jason Kreis said there can be a downside, too.
Teams can wind up effectively stuck with such players for two or three years, if they do not turn out to be as good as expected. How? Although they are paid by the league and do not count against a team's salary cap, Generation Adidas players also sign mostly guaranteed, six-figure contracts that keep teams from simply releasing them if they can't cut it.
Forward Alex Nimo is a prime example.
RSL drafted him in 2008, but he never played a league game for the team in three years. He was loaned out to a minor-league team for both the 2009 and 2010 seasons — he earned $108,000 last year, about 23 percent more than veteran midfielder Andy Williams — before finally "graduating" the GenAd program at the end of last season while complaining publicly that he had never been given a fair chance to play for RSL.
Needless to say, a situation like that can put a serious drag on team chemistry and other resources.
"You can put yourself in difficult position," Kreis said.
So it was that RSL did not choose the one Generation Adidas player who was left on the board when it was time to use the No. 14 pick of the MLS SuperDraft last week, UCSB's Michael Tetteh. Clearly, the team did not rate the midfielder enough to think that he could push his way into its veteran lineup anytime soon, and decided instead to trade the pick to Chivas USA for allocation money to alleviate the pressure on its salary budget.
Tetteh, for what it's worth, wound up going to the Seattle Sounders with the second pick of the second round. It will be interesting to see whether he can make RSL regret its decision, or prove that it made a wise call.
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