They came from around the world, traveling from 24 nations spanning five continents, all chasing the dream of earning a preseason roster spot with a North American Soccer League club and ultimately a professional contract.
The NASL 2014 Combine concluded on Sunday with 44 select players from among the group of 130 hopefuls who signed in on Friday showcasing their talents in a series of games under the watchful eye of NASL coaches.
“It was a very successful three days that gave some exceptionally talented players an opportunity to show off their skills and hopefully progress their professional careers,” said former U.S. Men’s National Team Assistant Coach Ralph Perez, who coordinated the Combine. “The quality of play, particularly on Sunday, was impressive and I hope the Combine provides the NASL with players who can make an impact this season.”
The select group, which included players from Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, England, France, Jamaica, Mexico, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and the United States, played a series of small-sided games on Sunday.
“I showcased my stuff,” said English winger Peter Gregory, who came through the academy at Portsmouth FC in England and has also spent time with Nottingham Forest. “I liked it, playing in front of all these NASL coaches.
“Playing with Portsmouth, we got to travel around the U.S. and play some NASL teams. The level of competition is there, it’s still growing, and I’m looking forward to coming to the land of opportunity here and finding a spot in the league.”
Mexican midfielder Jose Gomez from Creighton University said of the players participating: “There were a lot of good players from college and international. It was a very difficult field and a group that will really test you. You can really show how good you are when playing against that type of competition.”
Argentinean forward Franco Figueroa said of his showing at the NASL Combine: “I did well, more so on the second and third days. I want to play in the league. I love futbol and am ready to play anywhere.”