Canadian content in next week’s MLS SuperDraft got deeper and more interesting Wednesday with the addition of youth internationals Shamit Shome and Adonijah Reid as the first ever Generation Adidas Canada class.
Under the Generation Adidas program, top collegiate underclassmen and youth national team players are signed by Major League Soccer and made available in the league draft. They are especially prized given Generation Adidas contracts do not count against an MLS team’s salary budget.
Every No. 1 pick in the SuperDraft since 2003 has been a Generation Adidas product, including Canadian forward Cyle Larin in 2015.
Watch below: In January of 2015, Cyle Larin became the first Canadian to be drafted number one at the Major League Soccer SuperDraft. Also at that time, Toronto FC signed Michigan State standout Jay Chapman to a homegrown contract and the Jermain Defoe saga was nearing a close. John Hadden reports.
MLS has also signed four college seniors including Canadian forward Brian Wright (University of Vermont) to contracts ahead of the Jan. 13 draft in Los Angeles. Former Duke underclassmen Jeremy Ebobisse was signed by the league in August.
Like Shome, Reid and Wright, Canadian midfielder Kwame Awuah (UConn) and forward Chris Nanco (Syracuse University) have been invited to the MLS Combine, which starts Sunday in Los Angeles.
Shome, a 19-year-old native of Edmonton who came up through the FC Edmonton academy, is a midfielder who spent 2016 with the North American Soccer League club and the Canadian under-20 team.
Watch below: FC Edmonton’s Shamit Shome, an 18-year-old soccer star, was a workhorse for his team in his rookie season. Jack Haskins filed this report on the rising young star on Aug. 25, 2016.
Reid, a 17-year-old forward from Brampton, Ont., played for ANB Futbol in suburban Toronto and has been involved with the Canadian under-15, under-16 and under-18 programs.
The two Canadians are joined by three others in the 2017 Generation Adidas class. The others are forward Abu Danladi and midfielder Jackson Yueill, both of UCLA, and Syracuse defender Miles Robinson.
Shome, a nominee for Canadian under-20 player of the year, saw plenty of action for the Eddies in 2016. He logged 1,729 minutes in 29 appearances in all competitions and captained the national under-20 team.
For Canadian under-20 coach Rob Gale, those numbers are significant. Shome won the confidence of Edmonton coach Colin Miller, a former Canadian international and interim national team coach, and earned minutes in the NASL ahead of older players.
“(It) just shows that he’s got a bright future ahead of him,” said Gale. “A lot of clubs will be looking at that and saying ‘He has been tested.’ Whereas a lot of the youngsters come out of college etc., it’s a big jump up to senior professional ranks.”
Gale sees Shome as an energetic box-to-box midfielder who “connects the game well.”
Shome’s chance to crack MLS is bittersweet for Miller and FC Edmonton, given their role in his development. But Miller wishes his player nothing but the best, pointing to his strength in character as well as his soccer skills.
“The sense of entitlement with you players is quite shocking, I think. Not just in Canada at times but worldwide football. Players expect everything to be handed to them,” Miller said.
“This young man stayed humble right to the very end and was a real credit to his family … You want to see good things happen to kids and this is one of the game’s good kids.”
Reid has grown up in the ANB Academy, working his way through its ranks while going overseas for trials. He turned heads as a 15-year-old, tying for the league goal-scoring lead in Ontario’s League 1.
“He’s got undoubted talent,” said Gale. “It’s really going to be interesting how he develops and grows once he’s in that full-time professional environment where he’s got to compete. But he’s a dynamic forward, he can play probably in any of four front positions. For us, he’s been a winger using his speed and quality in one-versus-one positions.”
Gale said Reid gave a U.S. team headaches in a game at an under-18 camp in October 2015.
“He’s got a big upside,” said Gale.
Minnesota United FC will select first in the 2017 SuperDraft, followed by fellow expansion team Atlanta United FC. The Vancouver Whitecaps pick seventh, with the Montreal Impact 19th and Toronto FC 21st.