Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

Cruz, Gen adidas team head to Spain

On Monday a group of 19 players departed for Madrid, Spain, representing this year’s Generation adidas team for 10 days of training and competitive matches in the Spanish capital. Dynamo midfielder Danny Cruz will meet the group in Spain after completing a training stint with English club Nottingham Forest.

The side will be coached by reigning MLS Coach of the Year Schellas Hyndman of FC Dallas and will train at the Real Madrid training facilities in Valdebebas. The trip will be highlighted by matches against the reserve teams of Real Madrid (Dec. 2), Rayo Vallecano (Dec. 7), and Atlético Madrid (Dec. 8).

The 19 players represent 12 MLS clubs, with FC Dallas, the Chicago Fire, and the Philadelphia Union each contributing three players. Of the 15 players currently in the Generation adidas program, goalkeeper Josh Lambo (FC Dallas) and midfielder Blair Gavin (Chivas USA) will skip the trip.

Cruz, 20, was drafted by the Dynamo in the third round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft following his sophomore year at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. He was named the Dynamo’s Young Player of the Year in 2010 after starting a career-high 14 MLS games and contributing two goals and two assists. Generation adidas contracts provide the opportunity for players to leave college early and continue to develop their soccer careers in MLS. The salaries of these players are greater than the league minimum and the players are also provided educational funds should they decide to return to school. Their salaries also do not count against a club’s salary budget, allowing teams to afford them time to develop.

The remaining group will be supplemented by Generation adidas program graduates Baggio Husidic (Chicago), Stefan Frei (Toronto), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), and Jeremy Hall (Portland), as well as home-grown products Juan Agudelo (New York) and Tristan Bowen (Los Angeles).

While in Madrid, the players will have the opportunity to attend a Real Madrid or Getafe La Liga match and the UEFA Champions League group stage finale between the Merengues and French club Auxerre at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.

MLSsoccer.com will feature regular video updates through Dec. 9.

Goalkeepers (2):
Stefan Frei (Toronto), Sean Johnson (Chicago)

Defenders (2): Jeremy Hall (Portland), Ike Opara (San Jose)

Midfielders (8): Corben Bone (Chicago), Danny Cruz (Houston), Dilly Duka (Columbus), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Baggio Husidic (Chicago), Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia), Brek Shea (Dallas), Tony Tchani (New York)

Forwards (7): Juan Agudelo (New York), Tristan Bowen (Los Angeles), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City), Peri Marosevic (Dallas), Jack McInerney (Philadelphia), Danny Mwanga (Philadelphia), Andrew Wiedeman (Dallas)

Head Coach: Schellas Hyndman (Dallas)
Assistant / Goalkeeper Coach: Drew Keeshan (Dallas)
Head Athletic Trainer: Joshua Watts (Dallas)
Equipment Manager: Marcus Owens (FC Dallas)