- Johnny Esfeller
IMG Academy alumnus Marlon Hairston signs with Major League Soccer as member of Generation adidas
IMG Academy soccer program alumnus Marlon Hairston has been a standout player for the Louisville Cardinals men’s soccer program since signing in 2012, but is taking his career to the pros after signing with Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member of Generation adidas. Hairston will be eligible for the upcoming MLS SuperDraft, set to take place in Philadelphia, Pa., Jan. 16. By signing with Generation adidas, Hairston will not count against a team's salary budget, and is entitled to educational grants to continue his college education.
A native of Jackson, Miss., Hairston is 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. Gavin recently signed with the MLS' Seattle Sounders after playing with the IMG Academy PDL squad over the summer.
Signing with Generation adidias also places Hairston amongst elite company. Other notable players to have advanced to MLS through the program has included the likes of Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, Jozy Altidore, DaMarcus Beasley, Sacha Kljestan, Freddy Adu, Brad Guzan and Michael Bradley.
Collegiately, Hairston, a sophomore midfielder and member of the US U-20 national team pool, played in 39 games during his first two seasons, contributing six goals and five assists. As an IMG Academy student-athlete, he was named the 2011-12 IMG Academy Offensive Player of the Year after contributing 17 goals and eight assists.