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Amaya, Buchanan to headline MLS Generation adidas class

6:51 PM EST 1/1/19
Frankie Amaya UCLA 2018
Major League Soccer has completed the signing of seven top college underclassmen to lead the 2019 MLS Draft class, sources tell Goal

The 2019 MLS draft is little more than a week away and the league is putting the finishing touches on the class of college underclassmen who will headline the draft class, including one U.S. youth national team standout. 

U.S. Under-20 midfielder Frankie Amaya and Syracuse University forward Tajon Buchanan headline a class of seven players who have signed Generation adidas contracts, sources have confirmed to Goal. 

Amaya, who finished his freshman season at UCLA and started for the U.S. U-20s in their 2-0 win against Mexico in the Concaaf Championship final, heads into the draft as the highest-rated prospect available. The skilled central midfielder impressed at the Concacaf Championships, and is very much a possibility to go as the first overall selection in the 2019. 

Canadian forward Buchanan is regarded as another one of the top prospects in the draft. The 19-year-old forward/winger was a first-team All-ACC selection, registering eight goals and four assists for Syracuse. 

University of Kentucky junior forward J.J. Williams will be in the running for the top pick in the draft as well. The American striker earned All-American honors for the Wildcats after scoring 18 goals and adding eight assists in 2018. 

University of Maryland goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair helped lead the Terrapins to an NCAA title and will be looking to follow in the professional footsteps of fellow Maryland goalkeeping alumnus Zack Steffen, who completed a transfer to Manchester City in December. A 6-foot-4 junior, St. Clair recorded 12 shutouts to help Maryland win its first NCAA title in a decade. 

University of North Carolina sophomore John Nelson has also signed a Generation adidas deal and should be one of the first defenders selected in the draft. The Tar Heels left back earned second-team All-ACC honors and is a former U.S. Under-17 World Cup player. 

Indiana University forward Griffin Dorsey was a teammate of Amaya's on the U.S. Under-20 national team that won the Concacaf Championship in November and now joins Amaya as a Generation adidas signing. The sophomore earned first-team All-Big Ten honors on a Hoosiers team that reached the NCAA final four. 

Virginia Commonwealth midfielder Siad Haji is another player with a lengthy U.S. youth national team resume. The winger/attacking midfielder has played for the United States on the U-17 and U-19 level, and is expected to earn a call-up to the U.S. Under-20 team for its next camp. Hadji recorded five goals and 10 assists for VCU in 2018. 

The Generation adidas program is the MLS mechanism for signing top college underclassmen to go through the MLS draft. Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Brad Guzan and Jack Harrison are some of the top players to pass through the program. 

MLS has succeeded in securing most of its top 2019 Generation adidas targets, but not all of them. U.S. Under-20 national team right back Manny Perez would be one of the highest-rated players in the 2019 draft if he signed with MLS, but is weighing transfer offers in Europe. Sources tell Goal that, as of Tuesday, signing a Generation adidas deal is still a possibility for the North Carolina State defender. 

UCLA forward Mohammed Kamara is another prospect who had been considered a candidate for a Generation adidas contract, but sources say he is weighing offers in Europe, with German club Paderborn a strong possibility. 

Akron University forward David Egbo is another player who has drawn consideration as a Generation adidas target after scoring 13 goals for a Zips squad that reached the NCAA final four, but as of Tuesday he has not signed a deal. 

The members of the Generation adidas class will join the top college seniors at the MLS combine, which kicks off on Saturday in Orlando, with the 2019 MLS draft set for January 10 in Chicago. Expansion side FC Cincinnati currently holds the first overall pick in the draft.