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Canadian midfielder Ryan Raposo signs Generation Adidas deal, set for MLS draft


TORONTO — Canadian midfielder Ryan Raposo is one of four underclassmen in Major League Soccer's 2020 Generation Adidas class.

The 20-year-old from Hamilton, a sophomore at Syracuse University, had 15 goals and seven assists in 20 starts in 2019. He set Syracuse records for most points and goals by a sophomore and was voted to the All-ACC First Team.

Raposo, named to the ACC All-Freshman team in 2018, has attended four Canadian under-15 camps.

Other Generation Adidas players are Clemson junior forward Robbie Robinson, Indiana sophomore defender Jack Maher and Virginia junior defender Henry Kessler.

MLS uses the GA program to sign talented underclassmen and youth national players, making them available for the MLS SuperDraft. GA player salaries don't count against a club's salary cap, making them more valuable.

MLS also signed two seniors to contracts: defenders Dylan Nealis of Georgetown and Tanner Beason of Stanford. 

The 2020 MLS SuperDraft takes place Jan. 9. Inter Miami CF has the first and third overall picks with fellow expansion side Nashville SC selecting second.

The Vancouver Whitecaps pick fourth with Montreal going ninth and Toronto FC 19th and 24th.

Raposo, who will forgo his final two years of eligibility to enter the draft, is the second Canadian to sign a GA deal from Syracuse in recent years — following in the footsteps of New England forward Tajon Buchanan (2018).

Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono, an American, came out of Syracuse as a GA player in 2014.

In 2019, Raposo ranked seventh in the NCAA Division 1 in points (37), ninth in points per game (1.85), 11th in goals (15) and 14th in goals per game (0.75). He recorded five or more points in a game five times, including an eight-point performance (three goals, two assists) in an 11-0 win over Morrisville.

Raposo, who spent time at Toronto FC's academy, and UConn forward Dayonn Harris of Milton, Ont., were both invited to the inaugural 2019 Adidas MLS College Showcase Dec. 13-15 in Raleigh, N.C.

The three-day event, featuring players, gave MLS club technical staffs a chance to scout top collegiate talent.

Robinson and Nealis are finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy, awarded annually to the top NCAA soccer player.

Robinson, the 2019 ACC Offensive Player of the Year, had 18 goals and nine assists in 19 games to finish the regular season tied as the top-ranked NCAA Division I goal-scorer.

Maher was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year with a resume that included three game-winning goals in 2019. Last season as a freshman, he helped the Indiana backline record an NCAA Division I-leading 15 shutouts.

Kessler, a six-foot-four centre back, helped the Cavaliers to a 21-2-1 record with 15 shutouts.

Beason is a three-time national champion (2015, 2016, 2017) and 2019 first-team All-American with a career 20 goals and 11 assists in 81 games. Nealis helped Georgetown to the 2019 College Cup, collecting four goals and five assists en route.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 30, 2019.


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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press