Akron midfielder Richie Laryea, after helping lead the Zips to the national semifinals this season, was named to the 2016 Generation adidas class.
Laryea started 22 games for Akron this season, recording a team-high 11 goals, three of which were game-winners, and seven assists. He also received third-team NSCAA All-America honors and All-Mid-American Conference honors as well.
If Laryea is to succeed with an MLS franchise, he would join the multitude of Akron players who signed Generation adidas contracts and went on to thrive in MLS. The rather-lengthy list includes: Darren Mattocks (2012, Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Darlington Nagbe (2011, Portland Timbers), Perry Kitchen (2011, D.C. United), Kofi Sarkodie (2011, Houston Dynamo) and Teal Bunbury (2010, New England Revolution).
Laryea will still enter the MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 14 along with all the other NCAA underclassman, he, however, is guaranteed spot on a team once the draft is over.
Generation adidas is a partnership between Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer that looks to raise the number of talented youth in American soccer by allowing players to bypass college graduation in order to join the pros early. Players who sign these contracts are expected to develop their skills by training and playing with one of the MLS franchises while also not counting against their team's salary budget.
Players within the class also receive grants to continue their education later.