After recently signing with Major League Soccer as a member of Generation adidas, IMG Academy Soccer alumnus and former Louisville Cardinal Marlon Hairston was selected No. 12 overall in the first-round of the MLS SuperDraft by the Colorado Rapids in Philadelphia, Pa. on Jan. 16. A native of Jackson, Miss., Hairston was the second IMG Academy alumnus to sign with MLS through the program, preceded by the Class of 2007's Blair Gavin. Gavin left the top-ranked University of Akron and was drafted in the first round (10th overall) in the MLS SuperDraft by Chivas USA.
More from the Denver Post:
The Rapids on Thursday took on a project in picking Louisville midfielder Marlon Hairston with the 12th selection in the MLS SuperDraft at the Philadelphia Convention Center.
Hairston, a box-to-box midfielder with a bent for defense, could spot up in any midfield position for the Rapids or an outside defender.
"I definitely want to play," Hairston said. "I'm going to work hard every day and try to earn a spot right away in the 18 or the 11."
But Hairston, 19, originally of Jackson, Miss., takes up a Generation Adidas spot on the Rapids' roster — an MLS and U.S. Soccer rule that allows teams to develop young players with part of their salary not counting against the league salary cap.
Hairston, whose cousin LaMarcus Aldridge plays for the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA, said he's keenly aware the Rapids are a young team with chances to play.
"They showed me great love," Hairston said of his pre-draft interviews with the Rapids. "They really wanted me to come down and be part of their organization. And I really know I'm going to a club that gives young players an opportunity."