After a historic season in which the club captured the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and Supporters’ Shield, Sounders FC is searching for players that can help bring more trophies to Seattle in 2015. One way the club seeks out young talent is the annual Sounders FC Invitational Combine.
Held in Las Vegas every offseason, the combine features players eligible for the upcoming MLS SuperDraft as well as others from around the world. The Sounders FC technical staff evaluates players as they go through drills and games over the course of a couple days. Seattle has run a combine each year since joining MLS in 2009, and more than 100 of the players who have attended went on to get drafted.
At this year’s combine that took place last weekend, the club saw numerous players with MLS potential.
“There were plenty of guys that I think can develop into contributors,” said Kurt Schmid, Assistant Coach and Head Scout of Sounders FC. “And there were definitely a couple of guys that you could see come in and be MLS players right away. There were a few that we hadn’t seen before that were interesting.”
Schmid said there were only a handful of players in Las Vegas that he hadn’t previously seen after scouting throughout the year and traveling around the country to watching college matches. A main reason why Sounders FC holds a combine, Schmid says, is so that the other members of the technical staff can take a look at the players he has already seen.
In the past two years, other MLS clubs have also been at Seattle’s combine to take a look at participants.
Coaches from Toronto FC and the Chicago Fire were in attendance for the 2014 combine, and Toronto was included once again last weekend. NASL clubs Indy Eleven and the New York Cosmos were also present at this year’s event. Sounders FC sees many benefits to having multiple teams be part of the event.
“One thing it does is make the combine a little more diverse,” Schmid said. “It helps us on the talent side. Maybe there are some guys that they are more familiar with than we are. It also helps with resources in terms of making it easier for kids to attend and trying to eliminate the financial burden of them coming to the combine.”
The 2015 MLS SuperDraft is less than a month away. Last weekend’s combine gave Sounders FC a chance to watch some of the players it could select, as the club has two picks in the second round and two picks in the fourth round.