Saturday, January 22, 2011

2011 USL Men's Player Combine: Two days in

They have come from all over the world; 102 players from countries like England, Liberia, Japan, El Salvador, Mexico and of course the United States.  All wanting to fulfill the dream of becoming a professional soccer player.  Many come through the college ranks, some barely 18 years-old, others a bit older but not ready to let go of the dream. 

Friday was the first day of the combine for a majority of the players selected to attend.  The goalkeepers were run through a special session on Thursday and Friday morning.  While the rest checked in and prepared for the what will be a grueling weekend. 

After checking in receiving room assignments, information packets, uniforms and tote bags provided by the combine sponsor Umbro, the players are split up into six teams, each with a coach ranging from current PDL coaches to an assistant coach with MLS Chicago Fire, Larry Sunderland.

Joshua Borja, fromCal S tate-Chico runs
through a drill

Each team started with an team work out, directed by their respective coaches.  Most dealt with footwork drills and some small group passing skills.  Most finished the 70 minute session with small scrimmage matches within there own teams.

Next up was the fitness test.  Players were timed on the 40 meter dash using a computer and marker set up that timed not only the 40 meter distance time, but the 5 meter, 10 meter and 25 meter distances.  This give a more accurate view of a players explosive speed as well as acceleration. Once that was completed player completed the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test

Day two was all scrimmages between teams.  Each team played two matches one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

It was a surprisingly cold morning but the players didn't seem to mind as most were sweating by the end of their matches.  I on the other had had numb fingers and toes!  The sun peaked out as the third game of the morning was finishing.  After a lunch break, the matches resumed and seemed to played at a higher intesity as teh player seem to shake off their nerves.

Aboubacarim Ndaw from Senegal (blue)
  battles Thomas McClean from Scotland

As part of their evaluations, each player wore a bra-like device underneath their jerseys that held a small sensor that recorded several vitals and the movement during their match. Also, video that will be integrated with dartfish software was recorded.  Hopefully we can provide more information and possibly an example of this unique technology in the next few days.

As to the matches themselves, USL is providing an excellent recap on the matches. head over to or follow them live at twitter @USLpro.  Also check out the great feature stories on several players as well as some video clips.

The final day of the combine is tomorrow with three more games played in the morning.  The waiting game then starts for many players.  Best of luck to all them.


Brendan said...

Hey, thanks for posting this. I can't find any good information on the combine anywhere else online.

Mikey said...

No problem Brendan, I hope to have something else up late tonight. Also has quite a few article up as well

Futipapa said...

Great job Mikey! I wish that I would have been able to get out there this weekend. It just wasn't in the stars...