The 2013 NASL Combine which is recognized as a leading pathway to playing professional soccer in the region kicked off Friday afternoon at Lockhart Stadium, home of the NASL’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
In the opening game of the Combine the Red team drew 2-2 with the Blue team. New Zealand Youth International Tom Jackson struck twice for Red, the first coming off an efficient cross from Kendall Sealy and the second coming after some excellent build up play in the area. For the Blue team goals came from Andres Vargas and Juan Gonzalez. Blue was led in the attack by the cultured midfield play of Laurent Merlin, a former Olympique Marseille and Chivas USA midfield. James Mack, formerly of the Charleston Battery also stood out in the match for the Blue team.
The second game featured former Barclays Premier League Best XI and France World Cup Defender Pascal Chimbonda. The match flowed nicely in the first half with chances for both teams. The breakthrough for the Green team finally came in minute sixty three when Steven Miller finished an opportunity. Just minutes later, the White team equalized thanks to former FCM Aubervilliers midfielder Ferrety Sousa.
“I thought the first game was a typical first day of a combine game, but as the day went on, but the second game I thought was much better and those guys really got after it especially in the first half. I think the level was quite good, “ Fort Lauderdale Strikers Head Coach Daryl Shore.
Ricky Hill Head Coach of the NASL Champion Tampa Bay Rowdies said “we have nice playing conditions here in sunny Fort Lauderdale and the standard has been very good.”
The NASL Combine resumes Saturday at 1:30pm ET at Lockhart Stadium and is open to the public.