University of Maryland goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair and Syracuse forward Tajon Buchanan have signed Generation Adidas contracts, adding to an already strong Canadian contingent eligible for the Jan. 11 MLS SuperDraft.
The two have joined Simon Fraser winger-forward Mamadi Camara (Montreal), North Carolina defender Alex Comsia (North Vancouver, B.C.), Syracuse defender Kamal Miller (Pickering, Ont.) and UNC Charlotte defender Callum Montgomery (Victoria) at the MLS Combine, which runs through Jan. 9 in Orlando.
Various mock drafts have Buchanan, Montgomery and St. Clair going in the top 12 with Buchanan, an alumnus of Toronto-area Sigma FC, pegged at No. 1 by SBI, No. 3 by MLS’s Armchair Analyst and No. 9 by Top Drawer. Montgomery and St. Clair have been touted by some as the best at their position among draft-eligible players.
St. Clair, who helped Maryland to the NCAA championship by not allowing a goal in 450 minutes of tournament play, could be attractive to Toronto FC, which picks sixth and needs goalkeeper depth, if he lasts that long.
Comsia, named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, is a workhorse long on character who like Montgomery was a semi-finalist for the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy that goes to the top collegiate player in the United States. Miller is a versatile defender also expected to attract attention. Camara, a skillful 6 foot 3, can score goals and make them.
In all, 75 players from 18 countries are taking part in the combine, which sees the talent divided into four teams for full matches and training sessions.
MLS announced seven Generation Adidas signings Friday. The program offers way for elite underclassmen and youth national team players an entry into the draft. Generation Adidas players are signed to MLS deals before the draft that do not count against MLS teams’ salary budget, making them especially attractive.
St. Clair, a 21-year-old from Pickering, and Buchanan, a 19-year-old from Brampton, Ont., are joined by UCLA midfielder Frankie Amaya, Indiana midfielder Griffin Dorsey, Virginia Commonwealth midfielder Siad Haji, UNC defender John Nelson and Kentucky forward J.J. Williams in this year’s Generation Adidas class.
While not part of that group, University of Denver’s Brazilian forward Andre Shinyashiki has signed a contract with Major League Soccer.
Another player of note at the combine is 19-year-old Jamaican international Peter-Lee Vassell, a midfielder who was the Caribbean Combine MVP.
The MLS draft spans four rounds and 96 picks, with the first two rounds to be held Jan. 11 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. The third and fourth rounds will be held via conference call two days later.
Expansion FC Cincinnati has the first pick in the draft, followed by San Jose, Orlando FC Dallas and Chicago.
Montreal and Vancouver traded away their first-round picks. The Impact sent the 10th over all selection to FC Dallas in a December deal for Argentine forward Maxi Urruti, while Vancouver shipped the 11th over all pick to New England in a December, 2017, deal for Sierra Leone forward Kei Kamara.
The Whitecaps elected not to retain Kamara, who went to Cincinnati in the expansion draft before being traded to the Colorado Rapids last month.
Toronto also has the 30th, 39th (acquired from Colorado in the recent deal that sent goalkeeper Clint Irwin to the Rapids) and 54th picks. TFC’s fourth-round pick (78th overall pick) went to the New York Red Bulls in a February deal for goalkeeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell.
Montreal has the 34th, 58th, 82nd and 92nd picks. The last selection was obtained from Seattle in the August, 2017, deal that sent Scottish midfielder Calum Mallace to the Sounders.
Vancouver will pick 35th and 83rd, having sent its third-round pick (59th over all) to Orlando for Brazilian fullback-midfielder Victor (PC) Giro in a December deal.