With the MLS SuperDraft just two weeks away, we're finally starting to see this year's draft class come into focus. Yesterday, MLS announced the first six signings ahead of the January 16 SuperDraft - four Generation adidas (i.e. underclassmen) join two seniors on the list. As expected, senior forwards Patrick Mullins from Maryland and Steve Neumann from Georgetown have put pen to paper with the league. Also signing with the league are four underclassmen, who will be on salary cap-exempt GA deals next year: goalkeeper Andre Blake (junior, Connecticut), midfielder Marlon Hairston (sophomore, Louisville), defender Erick Miller (junior, Creighton) and attacker Schillo Tshuma (sophomore, Maryland).
Conspicuously absent from the lists are Cal center backs Steve Birnbaum and Christian Dean, though reports indicate that both have received offers from the league. (And Dean's Twitter account appears to indicate he won't be returning to Berkeley, at least.)
On the local front, the consensus is pretty strong that D.C. United will be taking one of the Cal CBs or else Patrick Mullins. Interestingly, Ives Galarcep seems pretty convinced that Dean - the only underclassmen of the three - is not actually a part of Ben Olsen and Dave Kasper's thinking:
MLS signed both Mullins and Neumann, but NOT Cal defender Steve Birnbaum, one of two players (w/Mullins) D.C. United is considering at #1— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) January 2, 2014
It's important to remember that these are just the first of the names we'll see coming out between now and January 16. I wouldn't expect too many more seniors to sign ahead of the draft (maybe Birnbaum and another), but we could very well see two or three additional underclassmen sign GA deals, including Dean.
What do you make of the signings and Ives' report? Think there's anybody outside of Mullins, Birnbaum and Dean that United should be considering? Let us know in the comments.