List of MLS Combine senior invitees revealed

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Major League Soccer has finalized its list of senior players to be invited to the 2011 MLS Combine and the teams in the upcoming NCAA Final Four are well represented.

A total of seven seniors who will take part in this weekend's national semifinals will play in the MLS Combine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on January 8-11, where MLS coaches and scouts will evaluate the incoming talent ahead of the 2011 MLS Draft, on January 13th in Baltimore.

SBI has obtained the list of 58 seniors invited to the MLS Combine, a group that includes North Carolina playmaker Michael Farfan and Akron standout Anthony Ampaipitakwon, as well as Michigan striker Justin Meram and Louisville fullback J.T. Murray just to name a few.

The invitees will compete in a series of scrimmages that will also include members of the Generation adidas class (underclassmen) and select players from lower division schools.

Here is the complete list if senior MLS Combine invitees (a list expected to be released officially by MLS later this week):

2011 MLS Combine Senior Invitees 

Eddie Ababio, North Carolina, Defender

Anthony Ampaipitakwong, Akron, Midfielder

Jalil Anibaba, North Carolina, Defender

Jeff Attinnella, South Florida, Goalkeeper

Rich Balchan, Indiana, Midfielder

Jimmy Banks, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Midfielder

Philip Bannister, Loyola (Md.), Forward

Michael Boxall, UCSB, Defender

Matheus Braga, Penn State, Midfielder

Blake Brettschneider, South Carolina, Forward/Midfielder

Jeb Brovsky, Notre Dame, Midfielder

Efrain Burgos, Cal Poly-SLO, Midfielder

Ernesto Carranza, Sacramento State, Forward/Midfielder

Servando Carrasco, California, Midfielder

Billy Cortes, Maryland, Midfielder

Juan Cruz, SMU, Defender

Tommy Drake, Clemson, Midfielder

Bilal Duckett, Notre Dame, Defender

Michael Farfan, North Carolina, Midfielder

Josh Ford, UConn, Goalkeeper

Colin Givens, Michigan State, Defender

Cole Grossman, Duke, Midfielder

Matt Gold, Ohio State, Midfielder

Jason Herrick, Maryland, Forward

Levi Houapeu, UMBC, Forward

Hector Jimenez, California, Midfielder

Greg King, UConn, Midfielder/Defender

Daniel Keat, Dartmouth, Midfielder

Greg Klazura, Notre Dame, Defender

Christopher Korb, Akron, Defender

Tyler Lassiter, North Carolina State, Defender

Brayan Martinez, Seton Hall, Midfielder/Forward

Jimmy Maurer, South Carolina, Goalkeeper

Stephen McCarthy, North Carolina, Midfielder

Dustin McCarty, North Carolina, Midfielder

Ashley McInnes, Tulsa, Forward/Midfielder

Justin Meram, Michigan, Forward

Bryan Meredith, Monmouth, Goalkeeper

J.T. Murray, Louisville, Defender

Jon Okafor, Brown, Midfielder

Demitrius Omphroy, California, Defender

Davis Paul, California, Forward

Steven Perry, Notre Dame, Forward

Lebogang Pila, St. Peter's College, Midfielder

Karl Reddick, Boston College, Midfielder

C.J. Sapong, James Madison, Forward

Indy Smith, UNC-Wilmington, Defender

A.J. Soares, California, Defender

Josue Soto, SMU, Defender

Curtis Ushedo, UAB, Defender

Amani Walker, UC-Urvine, Forward

Bobby Warshaw, Stanford, Midfielder/Defender

Konrad Warzycha, Ohio State, Midfielder

Joe Willis, University of Denver, Goalkeeper


Surprising omissions? Three that come to mind initially are Virginia goalkeeper Diego Restrepo, Michigan State midfielder Spencer Thompson and Monmouth striker Ryan Kinne. It should be noted that players missing from the list could be missing due to injury or could have turned down an invitation to pursue other opportunities.

The group is comprised of players identified by MLS coaches and scouts as potential draft targets.

What do you think of the list? Who is missing from the list that you think should be on it? Who are you happy to see get an invitation? Who is your darkhorse pick to do well?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, MLS Draft 2011. Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to List of MLS Combine senior invitees revealed

  1. dinho says:

    lots of Cal representation. looks like they’re losing a lot this year

  2. WahooFan says:

    No Diego Restrepo from UVa???? Wow MLS, that’s just crazy talk…

  3. corey says:

    Scottie Rojo from High Point University. He led the nation in assists. How could he not get the call up?

  4. GY says:

    I’m in shock that Sam Hayden from UCSB isn’t in there. He might be small but he is a GREAT GK and should be there no question.

  5. greg says:

    I thought some of the SDSU guys looked good…
    Reza and Davies?

  6. Dom says:

    That’s what I was wondering. Small, but athletic enough to merit a look.

  7. John says:

    Disappointing not to see Rafael Baca of Loyola Marymount on that list.

  8. EDB says:

    Colin Givens is solid, and his parents are hilarious.. I will be rooting for him. He also has a scottish passport, so it’s nice to see him at the combine and not just heading over seas

  9. Reid says:

    Good to see Greg King from UCONN get a showing. Uconn has some flashy players that were fun to watch, but every game King was tearing up the left side of the field

  10. Aquaman says:

    I know I ask every year, but I always forget the answer: Are these open to the public? By the way (and I know us Floridians sound like big babies when we say this) it’s been pretty cold down here recently so you may have to wear pants and shoes instead of the normal Florida shorts and sandals.

  11. jake says:

    Unless he has plans to go play in another country. I have read rumors that he was considering that along with MLS.

  12. Be Serious says:

    5’11 (on a good day) and not even 200 pounds = NOT big enough to be a professional goalkeeper. Be serious.

  13. ETJ says:

    dumbest comment of the day goes to Be Serious!!! Congrats!!!

  14. Thor says:

    A lot of journey men like players. CJ Sapong could be under the radar

  15. afc says:

    Is Jimmy Banks supposed to be JC Banks? Unless his given name is Jimmy not sure but I know his dad’s name is Jimmy.

    Anyways JC has been in Sweden on a few trials but it would be nice for him to go to the combine.

  16. Schuyler says:

    How about Steven Beattie from NCAA D2 champions Northern Kentucky? I wouldn’t be surprised to see him land in Europe, he’s better than most D1 strikers.

  17. afc says:

    He’s Irish so passport issues wouldn’t be a problem. Sick scoring record!!

  18. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    Surprised about Ryan Kinne. Hope it’s an injury and he gets well soon. I’d really like to see him in mls.

  19. WahooFan says:

    I hope that’s the case Jake, because of those senior goalies maybe Attinella and Ford are comparable. Restrepo won it all at UVa, and lead the ACC in all GK categories the last 2 years. I doubt guys at South Carolina, Monmouth or Denver faced the quality and level of competition. DR played tougher teams and still outplayed all those other guys.

    I really hope this isn’t MLS going the “American route” and scouting based on height/weight/speed chart. Soccer is not Football, potential is not based on measurables but play on the field.

    Ives can you find out if this was Diego having other options/injury or just he league being the league?

  20. ... says:

    Um, ever hear of Nick Rimando? 5’9 and 184 (according to MLSsoccer).

  21. Ya Ya Toure says:

    There are no interesting names this draft. I miss Two Boys Gumede lol

  22. jonk says:

    I’m sure Ives remembers how cold it is in Florida in January.

  23. Ryman says:

    I would have liked to see Matt Eliason.

  24. atlsoccer says:

    I am a little curious about the manner in which college players are selected for the combine. In order to be invited do you only have to be noticed by a small number of MLS coaches or scouts? Do college coaches have any impact? If you are not invited to the combine do you have any chance of ending up on an MLS roster? Anyone have any ideas…

  25. merfe05 says:

    How can a guy be a Herman Trophy Semifinalist and not receive an invite to the MLS combine? Ben Sippola from Butler should be there..

  26. Marcus says:

    Um….ever hear of Jon Busch??? Pretty successful GK despite his small stature.

  27. Marcus says:

    Ampaipitakwong is legit. Keep your eyes on this kid.

  28. akron fan says:

    hes also SOFT and wont have any impact on games at the next level as defensive players will rip him

  29. tim says:

    Really dude? Are you like his dad or what?

  30. knolljus says:

    Ives, I am also surprised that Spencer Thompson was not included after being selected to train(along with Coling Givens) with Toronto fc last summer. Two other potential pros from MSU are MF Jeff Ricondo(injured from early October until the second round of NCAAs)who scored the goal to beat Butler and Avery Steinlage the GK who holds the ncaa record for consecutive shutout minutes.

  31. Ne-Dub says:

    Hey Ives, is there any sort of combine for the USL? Or is it all based on tryouts at that level?

  32. thor says:

    UNC with 5 players, no wonder they are in the semi’s… could see a rematch with them an Akron. Hopefully closer than the early season match.

  33. jhase says:

    wow cant believe the leader in assists scott rojo didnt get an invite smh

  34. PSPTim says:

    In a way, not getting an invite for some of these players, can work in their favor. If you don’t go through the draft or arent invited, you can go to the team camp of any team that invites you (as long as you arent part of a current US Youth setup). JT Noone wasn’t drafted last year – still found his way to Philly (albetit circuitously). I can imagine La Salle’s Ryan Richter getting an invite directly to Philly team camp and it probably works out just as well for him as going through the combine. Yes, its a discovery signing, but with expanded rosters we might see a few players enter the league that way.

  35. Jack says:

    Wrong. He tied for the nation’s lead in assists.

  36. WVU Fan says:

    Dissapointed in not seeing Zach Johnson, GK West Virginia, get an invite.

  37. SoCal fan says:

    Should be on there: Spencer Thompson (UC Irvine), Raymundo Reza (San Diego State), Rafa Baca (LMU)

  38. Wow says:

    How about Fabien Barthez as well? 5’11 “on a good day”

  39. Kevin says:

    Does anyone know the status of Christian Ibeagha and Cameron Brown? Are they still injured or are they redshirting? These guys are both first round talents.

  40. Jake says:

    And that Iniesta and Xavi are so hard. Not comparing them to Ampaipitakwong as I’ve never even seen him play, just pointing out there is almost always a place for creativity.

  41. Oranje says:

    Someone can have an opinion on a player without being related to them. The guy is a NCAA Championship winning GK, he must have some talent.

  42. Oranje says:

    He played for High Point University?

  43. Ben says:

    Surprised not to see Given’s keeper, Avery Steinlage in there

  44. Liz says:

    happy to see Josh Ford and Greg King on the list, two great players for UConn this year.

  45. MicahK says:

    USA better get him before Trapatoni gets him Trap is scouting Americans who are eligible for Ireland for the national team.

  46. john says:

    Levi Houapeu and CJ Sapong will surprise. Mark my works ives

  47. John B says:

    Not sure about Christian, saw him early in the year.

    Cameron was redshirted and will be back playing at UNC for the fall season.

  48. AS says:

    If La Liga and MLS were in the same stratosphere as far as level of physicality, you might have a point. I doubt he would get protection in MLS like he would in a more technical league.

  49. corey says:

    still that is not an ease feat to accomplish

  50. corey says:

    Yes he did

  51. gilbert says:

    As an HPU alum, I love seeing a Panther being discussed! Some one send the kid an invite

  52. jaya says:

    We had 7 seniors this year, one of the best classes in the past 4 years as well, will be sad to see them go, but upwards and onwards!

  53. Gumper says:

    Sometimes “homers” need to take the blinders off and be realistic. Hayden didn’t even merit NSCAA All Far West Region honors.

    IMHO, McClain was the best GK in the BW – bar none.

  54. Dan says:

    CJ Sapong will suprise and will join the list of JMU Dukes in the MLS. Following in the footstep of Kurt Morsink (D.C. United) and Nick “I run Highlawn” Zimmerman (Philly Union).

  55. says:

    What surprised me was that some of the names that were selected were not selected on a regional basis by the NSCAA and there seen as a viable MLS player. One player was not even starting for his team this year and came off the bench, how will he compete in the MLS?

  56. michigansoccer says:

    Matt Eliason (Northwestern): 31 career goals – no invite really? I think hes being penalized for a lack of style points..What do you guys think? Ives?

  57. Gianbell58 says:

    Eliason was penalized because he score very few goals this season and the team was average. Besides which, there was a better player on Northwestern that was ommitted as well as I am sure is the case with many other programs.

  58. Hilarious says:

    Iker Casillas 5’11” 185… All those coaches for Spain and Real Madrid must be delusional, he can’t be any good…

  59. michigansoccer says:


    who is better at northwestern than eliason?

  60. Roadster says:

    So am I. He’s big, athletic, strong on crosses, very vocal.

  61. Bob says:

    avery is horrible, worst soccer mind, makes too many mistakes, would fail in the MLS, surprised thompson isn’t in there thoug. hes big (fat) pretty athletic (for a 230 lbs guy) vocal (if he’s with 12 year olds) and strong on crosses (let in 7 goals in 1st 2 games, lost to penn state and ohio state on a cross this year and got chipped from half against michigan in overtime)

  62. gunner11 says:

    For sure Matt Eliason if not for a striker then at least a out side mid.

  63. gunner11 says:

    I think it was more so because hes not that fast and the MLS is looking for fast strikers. Also consider the fact that Eliason played center mid this year for northwestern, one of the reasons his goals went down this year. But still he deserves a look!

  64. jery says:

    diego doesnt want to play in the mls..he wants to go elsewhere. he has had looks at respectable professional clubs in many different countries and he is continuing to do so as we speak.