Sarkodie plans to stay but is listening to offers

Indiana center back Ofori Sarkodie is currently in Florida training with the best young soccer players in America and vying for a spot on the Under-20 national team. If he can make the team he’ll suit up in the red, white and blue during a qualifying tournament in January.

But whether or not he wears the cream and crimson of Indiana for a second season appears to be at least a little bit up in the air.

Sarkodie, reached in Florida last week, said he informed Indiana coach Mike Freitag that he plans on playing for the Hoosiers next season, but that he also was up front about his desire to listen to offers from pro teams.

Many people, including his coach on the Under-17 National Team, believed Sarkodie was read to jump to Major League Soccer last year, when his name was on the original list of players to be considered for the Generation Adidas program.

The Generation Adids program is meant to identify the top young players in America and push them toward playing and developing in the MLS. Jacob Peterson and Jed Zayner, both juniors, left the Hoosiers after last season becaise they were chosen for the Generation Adidas program (college soccer players cannot simply declare for the MLS draft before their eligibility runs out, they must be chosen.)

Sarkodie did not choose to jump straight to the pro ranks last season. Some sources believe he was told by MLS coaches that he needed one season of development in the college game.

At Indiana, Sarkodie struggled to find his way on the field early but eventually ended up starting at center back and being named to the All-Big Ten Freshman team.

According to Buzz Carrick of the web site 3rd Degree, Sarkodie has once again been included on the original Generation Adidas list. That list is compiled using recommendations from coaches around the country and then is presented to each MLS team. If any of the teams express interest in drafting a player on the list, that player is then approached by MLS with a contract offer (MLS players are under contract to the league, not the individual teams.) If a player signs a contract, he enters the draft.

Sarkodie may also be a target of international teams, who’ve increasingly poached America’s top talent. Big Ten Freshman of the year Lee Nguyen left Indiana last winter for a team in Holland.

Sarkodie said he could not comment on whether he’d been contacted by the MLS or any other pro teams.