The MLS released its initial list of 60 NCAA Division I college players invited to participate at the 2018 MLS adidas Player Combine in Orlando.
The event will be held January 11th through 17th at Orlando City Stadium in Florida. Representatives from all 23 MLS clubs will be scouting the top college prospects ahead of the MLS SuperDraft to be held January 19th in Philadelphia.
A committee of NCAA D1 college coaches and MLS coaches selected the pool of players - all of whom completed their college eligibility this season. Additional players will be added to the Combine in the coming weeks, including Generation adidas signings and non-college players.
College Cup semifinalist Akron leads the way with five players invited followed by Duke with three. Maryland, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Louisville, Creighton, and Clemson were the only other schools with multiple players selected. National champion Stanford will also be sending two players. 36 schools will be sending one player each including non-Power 5 schools such as NJIT, Albany, Hartford, Pacific and UC Irvine.
Among the conferences, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) leads the way with 15 players invited, the Big East was second with 7, the MAC was third with 6 while the Big Ten and Pac-12 have 5 each. Power 5 conferences Big 12 and SEC do not sponsor men’s soccer. Schools from those conference that do sponsor soccer such as West Virginia, Kentucky and and South Carolina, compete in other conferences. Over all, more players were selected from non-Power 5 schools by a 35-25 margin.
Players hail from 17 different countries with the USA (35), Spain (4) and England (3). 3 of the 4 Spanish nationals come from Barcelona, the only municipality with more than one player. World powers, France, Brazil, Germany, and Jamaica each have two players represented.
From the American players, 21 states are represented with five are from California, three from Washington and Maryland, and two each from Kentucky, Nevada, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and Michigan.
2017 MAC Hermann Trophy national finalists Wake Forest forward Jon Bakero and Stanford defender Tomas Hilliard-Arce headline the list of invitees.