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The Spirit in St. Louis

My earlier report about Akron forward Steve Zakuani, who will be one of the top picks in tomorrow's MLS draft, earning around $150,000 was a bit off. He is actually in the $175,000-to-$200,000 range! And as a Generation Adidas signee, he is guarateed for three years and exempt from his club's salary cap.

California goalkeeper Stefan Frei, also a GA player, will not make that much but considerably more than most rookies. I am guessing in the low-100s.

I am told that England's Preston North End topped MLS's offer to Zakuani, but he wanted to stay in the USA for now.

I am also hearing that the order in which players are chosen early in the draft is very much in flux at the moment because as many as four of the first five slots are being shopped around.

An interesting angle to consider after the draft: Some USL teams are preparing to offer guaranteed contracts to college seniors, guys who are typically low-balled and not given guarantees by MLS, which provides glamour treatment to the Generation Adidas crew. Don't be surprised if a few of those seniors shun MLS for the USL.

By Steve Goff  |  January 14, 2009; 5:51 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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so will anyone take non-genad, non-signed players high? (someone like O'Brien White, for instance) think DCU has learned its lesson from the Jacobsen fiasco? I think it's a good thing that USL is competing for those players, good for the teams, good for the players. ain't nothing wrong with playing in USL for a year or two to develop, better than lower wages and no PT in MLS. sign a two year deal and your MLS rights have expired. While that's tougher for a 23 year old to take than a 19 year old, it's still not unreasonable.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | January 14, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Preston North End is gonna hate MLS after this

Posted by: CACuzcatlan | January 14, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Steve, any chance DC will pick up Stefan Frei to be our 2nd string GK and off-load Wells?

Posted by: RRP1 | January 14, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Oh noes. MLS is gonna be on PNE's "naughty" list?

Posted by: fischy | January 14, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

fischy, corona light almost shot my nose reading your post...

Posted by: DadRyan | January 14, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

MLS is finally putting some money into young players because the best were leaving quickly for europe. The question now is 'are they investing in the right one'? Shocked any player with a euorpean offer would actually sign with MLS but everyone doesn't have what it takes to make the move when it's really in front of them.
Most of Nat's come from Europe and that's for very obvious reasons.

Posted by: euroman | January 14, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Agreed: USL offering guaranteed contracts to college players is a big plus for soccer in the US.

67 days......

Posted by: Curious99 | January 14, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Isn't PNE where Brian McBride began his Euro career? Perhaps Zakuani may wish to reconsider....

Posted by: b18bolo | January 14, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

RRP1: Frei second-string to whom? Crayton? Frei is better than any goalkeeper D.C. has. Would prolly be No. 1 at half the MLS clubs, maybe more.

Posted by: LAStory | January 14, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

RRP1, DCU has many more glaring needs in the first round then a backup keeper...

Posted by: Reignking | January 14, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

I thought Crayton was out this summer, might be nice to get some cover once he leaves.

Posted by: PEddy | January 14, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

With two first round picks and two second rounders, DC has the ability to move up if they want to. Frei could be a good investment in the future, but personally I would move up and take Gonzalez.

Posted by: noptov | January 15, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Eddie Lewis is another MLSer who played at PNE in between his jobs at Fulham and Leeds.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 15, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

There are a number of good GKs in the draft that we could pick up in later rounds. No need to blow the chipstack on a great college player who has never faced professional opposition.

Posted by: Eric_in_Baltimore | January 15, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Actually, PNE is probably going to be thanking it's lucky stars that MLS bailed them out of taking the guy after he turns out to be a bust.

Posted by: Matte | January 15, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

USL1 offering guaranteed $ is why we need the whole soccer pyramid in the US to thrive. Why not play a year or two as a pro, to prove yourself.

The only thing better would be for an MLS team to cooperate with a USL1 or USL2 team to really create a farm system.

Posted by: DrewROC | January 15, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

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