First eight members of 2023 Generation adidas class announced by MLS
NEW YORK – Major League Soccer announced the first eight distinguished collegians to the 2023 Generation adidas class and the list of 364 players eligible for selection in MLS SuperDraft 2023.
These talented players will be eligible for selection in MLS SuperDraft 2023, which will start at 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Dec. 21, with SuperDraft coverage streaming live on MLSSoccer.com, the MLS App, Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook, beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Throughout the program’s history, Generation adidas players have made a significant impact in MLS and on the international stage. Seven players at the 2022 FIFA World Cup began their MLS careers through the Generation adidas program, including U.S. Men’s National Team members Sean Johnson (No. 51 overall selection, 2010 SuperDraft), Cristian Roldan (No. 16, 2015), and Walker Zimmerman (No. 7, 2013), as well as Canadian National Team players Tajon Buchanan (No. 9, 2019), Cyle Larin (No. 1, 2015), Richie Laryea (No. 7, 2016), and Dayne St. Clair (No. 7, 2019).
The first eight players named to the 2023 Generation adidas class include: Joey Akpunonu (Bowling Green State), Joshua Bolma (Maryland), Moise Bombito (New Hampshire), CJ Fodrey (San Diego State), Shakur Mohammed (Duke), Owen O’Malley (Creighton), Ilijah Paul (Washington) and Joey Skinner (Clemson).
A Toledo, Ohio native, Joey Akpunonu became one of the best defenders in college soccer at Bowling Green State. In 2022, he was an All-MAC first-team selection after leading the team with six goals from defense and playing every second of his 16 starts for the Falcons. Akpunonu also played 1,866 of the team’s 1,877 total minutes in 2021 and was named to the All-MAC second team. A biology major, he was selected to the 2022 Academic All-America first team by the College Sports Communicators after finishing the year with a 4.0 GPA.
Only the fourth player in Maryland history to earn multiple first-team All-Big Ten honors, Joshua Bolma starred in his two years with the Terrapins. In 2022, his eight assists were tied for the second most in the Big Ten. Bolma was also named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2021 after producing four goals and four assists in 18 games. After growing up in Ghana, Bolma went on to play at South Kent High School in Connecticut where he won a high school national championship.
New Hampshire defender Moise Bombito blossomed into one of the best players in the country during his junior year with the Wildcats. Bombito earned 2022 America East Defender of the Year and was named a second team All-American selection, after helping lead a defense that was third in the nation with a 0.5 goals against average. A native of Montréal, Québec, he started his career at Iowa Western Community College where he won the NJCAA National Championship in the fall of 2021.
CJ Fodrey was named the 2022 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, becoming the first San Diego State player since 2006 to win a Pac-12 major award. Fodrey played in all 18 matches with 17 starts and led the team in both points (18) and goals (seven). After spending time with MLS NEXT club Albion SC San Diego, he then joined the LA Galaxy academy in 2019 before moving to the San Diego Loyal, where he was coached by National Soccer Hall of Famer Landon Donovan. Fodrey made two appearances with Loyal’s first team in 2021 and scored his first professional goal.
Duke midfielder/forward Shakur Mohammed scored a team-high 10 goals in 2022 and was named a MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist, first-team All-American and ACC Offensive Player of the Year in his sophomore season. A Kumasi, Ghana native, he finished the year with three multi-goal games and earned ACC Offensive Player of the Week honors twice. Mohammed produced three goals and seven assists in 2021, en route to being voted ACC Freshman of the Year and All-ACC second team. A dorm leader at Millbrook School in New York, he played a key role in their 2018 Class C New England Championship.
An integral player during Creighton’s run to a 2022 National Championship appearance, Owen O’Malley finished with eight goals and six assists on the year, earning All-BIG EAST first-team honors. In 2021, he saw action in 18 games (10 starts), totaling 936 minutes and one assist for the Blue Jays. O’Malley grew up in Cary, N.C. and returned to his hometown for the 2022 Men’s College Cup with Creighton. His sister, Shea, plays soccer at Indiana and his father, Patrick, played soccer at Villanova.
Washington forward Ilijah Paul proved to be one of the best offensive players in the country during his first full season of college soccer. Paul was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and a MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist after scoring 11 goals in 2022. A Gilbert, Ariz. native, Paul spent time with the Real Salt Lake Academy and Barça Residency Academy when growing up.
One of Clemson’s key defenders this season, sophomore Joey Skinner saw action in every single game for the Tigers in 2022, scoring twice and providing one assist. Skinner transferred from UNC Greensboro, in which he was a first-team All-SoCon selection as a freshman in 2021. The Spartans produced the best goal differential in the country (+38) and Skinner chipped in with four goals and seven assists.
More information on the 2023 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas, including the SuperDraft selection order, is available HERE.
2023 Generation adidas Class
|Joey Akpunonu||Defender||Bowling Green State University||Junior||Toledo, Ohio|
|Joshua Bolma||Midfielder/Forward||University of Maryland||Redshirt Sophomore||Accra, Ghana|
|Moise Bombito||Defender||University of New Hampshire||Junior||Montréal, Québec|
|CJ Fodrey||Forward||San Diego State University||Freshman||San Diego, Calif.|
|Shakur Mohammed||Midfielder/Forward||Duke University||Sophomore||Kumasi, Ghana|
|Owen O’Malley||Midfielder||Creighton University||Sophomore||Cary, N.C.|
|Ilijah Paul||Forward||University of Washington||Sophomore||Gilbert, Ariz.|
|Joey Skinner||Defender||Clemson University||Sophomore||Charlotte, N.C.|