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MLS signs Indiana star Eriq Zavaleta, five NCAA senior standouts

NEW YORK – Major League Soccer announced on Monday that Eriq Zavaleta, a star striker for 2012 NCAA Division I College Cup winners Indiana University, has signed a Generation adidas contract.

Additionally, MLS has signed five college seniors in advance of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft: Carlos Alvarez (University of Connecticut), Ryan Finley (University of Notre Dame), Dillon Powers (University of Notre Dame), John Stertzer (University of Maryland) and Kyle Bekker (Boston College).

Since stepping on campus at Indiana, Zavaleta, son of former El Salvadoran national team player Carlos Zavaleta, has been one of the best college players in the country. The Westfield, Ind., native capped off his sophomore season by assisting on the game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Georgetown to win the national championship. Nephew of former MLS and U.S. National Team defender Greg Vanney, he was named to the College Cup All-Tournament team as well as a College Soccer News First-Team All American thanks in part to his 18 goals on the season.

Alvarez, a Los, Angeles, Calif. native, capped off his impressive four-year career with the University of Connecticut by leading his team to the 2012 Big East Regular Season Championship. Alvarez, whose father played professionally in Mexico with Chivas Guadalajara, has worked tirelessly to make himself one of the top players in this years’ draft. The 2009 Big East Freshman of the Year and 2012 Midfielder of the Year finished his collegiate career as third all-time at Connecticut with 42 assists.

Finley, a finalist for the prestigious MAC Hermann Trophy, was named the 2012 Big East Offensive Player of the Year for his contributions to Notre Dame’s season. Finley transferred from Duke University after being named the 2010 ACC Offensive Player of the Year and finished his last two seasons in South Bend. The NSCAA First Team All-American ranked second nationally in goals (21) and points (46) during his senior year with the Fighting Irish.

Powers has been a mainstay in Notre Dame’s lineup since his freshman year. A native of Plano, Texas, Powers was a two-time team captain for the Fighting Irish who is just as involved off the field as he is on it. An active participant in the Take Ten program – which aims to teach kids to practice non-violence – as well as the Salvation Army, Powers is a Finalist for the 2012 Senior Class Award. The U.S. youth international started 64 of his 78 career games in South Bend.

After a breakout junior campaign, Stertzer returned to the University of Maryland for his senior season and was named a NSCAA All-American as well as First Team All-ACC. The Oakton, Va., native finished the season with seven goals and seven assists while starting 21 of 23 games for the Terrapins while leading his squad to the College Cup semifinals.

Bekker, an Oakville, Ontario native, has been a mainstay in Boston College’s lineup since he started all 23 games his freshman season.  The creative midfielder finished his college career ranking second all-time in assists (22) in Golden Eagles history. He led Canada to the semifinal of the 2012 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying tournament last March in his second stint with the U-23 Canadian National Team and is a two-time All-ACC First Team member.

The 2013 MLS SuperDraft will take place at the Indiana Convention Center on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 12 p.m. ET.

2013 Generation adidas Class Addition:

Player                                   Pos.       Age        Hometown                         College/Youth Club                        National Team

Eriq Zavaleta                        F              20           Westfield, Ind.                 Indiana University                          U.S.A. (U17 & U20)

  • 2012 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year
  • 2012 NSCAA All-American
  • 2012 National Champion
  • Nephew of former MLS and U.S. National Team defender Greg Vanney
  • Father, Carlos, played for El Salvador national team and professionally in both El Salvador and the U.S.

2013 Major League Soccer College Senior Signings:

Player                                   Pos.       Age        Hometown                         College/Youth Club                 Natl. Team


Carlos Alvarez                     MF         22           Los Angeles, Calif.           University of Connecticut            USA (U20)

  • 2012 Big East Midfielder of the Year
  • 2012 NSCAA Second Team All-American
  • 2012 College Soccer News First Team All-American
  • Father played professionally in Mexico

Ryan Finley                          F              21           Lumberton, N.J.               University of Notre Dame           U.S.A. (U17 & U18)

  • 2012 Big East Offensive Player of the Year
  • 2012 MAC Hermann Trophy Finalist
  • 2012 NSCAA First Team All-American
  • Scored 21 goals in 22 games this season despite not starting a single match

Dillon Powers                     MF         21           Plano, Texas                      University of Notre Dame           U.S.A. (U18 & U20)

  • 2012 NSCAA First Team All-American
  • 2012 MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist
  • 2012 All-Big East First Team
  • 2012 Senior CLASS Award Finalist

John Stertzer                     MF         22           Oakton, Va.                        University of Maryland                                 n/a

  • 2012 NSCAA Third Team All-American
  • 2011 & 2012 First Team All-ACC
  • 2012 ACC Championship All-Tournament Team
  • Father played football at Washington State

Kyle Bekker                        MF         22           Oakville, Ontario             Boston College                 Canada (U15, U17 & U23)

  • 2012 NSCAA All-South Atlantic First Team
  • 2012 All-ACC First Team
  • 2012 Team of the Season member
  • Formerly trained with AFC AJAX’s Youth Academy