Soony Saad signs with MLS

Former University of Michigan striker Soony Saad left college last winter after just one season to test the waters in Europe. He didn’t land a contract across the pond, but college soccer’s leading scorer in 2010 has been snatched up by Major League Soccer.

Saad, 18, reached a contract agreement with MLS and will find out which team he will play for on Tuesday, when MLS will hold a weighted lottery for his services.

“I needed to get into a team right away,” Saad told Fox Soccer on Saturday night. “I’m still pretty young, as an 18-year-old, and I felt that MLS could bring my game up to the next level.

“As long as I’m training hard everyday and in a pro environment and working for a starting position, I’m happy,” Saad said. “I’m very excited to get things rolling after leaving Michigan. This is the next step for me and I can’t wait to work hard for any team I end up with.”

Saad led the NCAA in goals in 2010, scoring 19 times to help Michigan win a Big Ten championship and reach the NCAA Final Four.

Saad had trials with teams in Germany, but ultimately the 2010 National Gatorade Player of the Year returned to the United States and signed with MLS. He was last seen in action while playing with the US Under-20 national team in a camp last winter.

A crafty striker known for being a deadly finisher, Saad drew some interest from MLS during his freshman year, but ultimately was not offered a Generation adidas contract. After finishing his freshman season, Saad left Michigan to pursue professional opportunities in Europe.

If he had returned to Michigan this fall, he would have been one of the top pro prospects in college soccer. Now, Saad will begin his professional career this month.

Ives Galarcep is a senior writer for covering Major League Soccer and the U.S. national team.