Major League Soccer today announced the details of two prominent January events that annually showcase the best and brightest young stars hoping to break into MLS. The 2018 adidas MLS Player Combine will take place January 11-17 at Orlando City Stadium, as a precursor to the 2018 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas on January 19 during the United Soccer Coaches Convention at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.
Beginning Thursday, January 11, an invited group of top college, youth, and international players will arrive in Orlando preparing to impress their way onto MLS rosters. With technical staffs in attendance from all 22 current MLS teams and the new 2018 expansion Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC), prospects will participate in physical testing and interviews, with full-field matches set for Saturday, January 13, Monday, January 15, and Wednesday, January 17.
All matches will be played at Orlando City Stadium, home of both Orlando City SC and former combine participant Cyle Larin. Larin was drafted No. 1 overall by the Lions in 2015, when his illustrious first MLS season included two hat tricks and 17 goals en route to winning the 2015 AT&T MLS Rookie of the Year award.
Following the Combine, the 2018 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center as a perennial component of the United Soccer Coaches Convention, which annually includes MLS-led programming during the world’s largest gathering of soccer coaches and administrators. Alongside the convention since 2003, the SuperDraft will provide an opportunity for MLS clubs to acquire new, young talent through four rounds of selections, which could tab up to 92 MLS hopefuls in 2018.
In the days immediately following the SuperDraft, Rounds 3 and 4 of the selection process will be conducted via conference call on January 21. During this continuation of the SuperDraft, teams can add to their rosters any players who have completed their college eligibility, as well as young and international players, who have not already been taken in earlier rounds. After flying under the radar, one of the most recognized and accomplished products of the later rounds is U.S. Men’s National Team and San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski, who this year completed his eighth straight season with at least 10 goals in addition to netting 134 career finishes, which ties for second all-time behind only Landon Donovan (145 goals).
With each year strengthening the quality of a talented young player pool, the Combine and SuperDraft have produced key contributors to every MLS regular season.
MLS players will report for preseason on Monday, January 22.