Seven CIS products are being invited to the USL-Pro Combine.
McMaster University’s Andrew Pastoric, York’s Adrian Pena, UOIT’s Aldo Maiorano, Trinity Western’s Adrian Kekec, Concordia’s Peter Bow, University of the Fraser Valley’s Sasa Plavsic and Cape Breton’s Shayne Hollis will all be heading to Bradenton, Fla. to try and earn contracts in the third division of U.S. soccer.
The USL-Pro combine runs from Jan. 24-27.
“We are delighted with the quality of player that has applied for this year’s combine,” USL National Technical Director Peter Mellor said in a release. “For the second consecutive season we have had more than 400 applicants for the event, making the selection process a very difficult one, but we believe that a number of this year’s group has what it takes to play in USL PRO in the upcoming season.”
Under an agreement made between the USL and CIS, a minimum of four prospects from Canadian universities will be invited to the combine. Outside of the NASL’s FC Edmonton, pro teams in North America have not been welcoming to CIS prospects.
Not included on the list is reigning CIS player of the year Samuel Georget.
Pastoric, a defender, was a second-team All-Canadian in 2012 for a McMaster team that won the OUA title.
Pena tied Carleton’s Andrew Latty for the OUA scoring lead. Pena scored 17 times in 16 matches for York, which went through the regular season undefeated and spent much of the year as the No. 1-ranked program in the country. But Pena’s York team was upset in the Ontario semis and didn’t even make it to Laval for the national finals.
Maiorano, a defender, was an OUA all-star at a school that does not get a lot of national soccer attention.
Kekec scored twice for the Fraser Valley Mariners during the 2012 PDL season. He came from the well-regarded TWU program. Bow was Kekec’s teammate with Fraser Valley in 2012, playing in 14 PDL matches.
Plavsic has scored 20 times over the last three seasons for UFV.
Hollis, who plays for the Bermuda national program, has been a three-time AUS all-star.
A release from Cape Breton University stated that CBU’s Jason Massie is also going to the combine, but his name wasn’t on the roster provided by the USL.
Other Canadian notables going to the USL combine:
• Mackenzie Wilde, from the Toronto Lynx and represented Canada in the 2009 Jeux De la Francophonie. He scored twice in NCAA Div. II action in 2012 for the Lincoln Memorial University Railsplitters;
• Canadian midfielder Emir Zrnic, who played in the CSL with Capital City FC and is a product of CEGEP Gabrielle Roy;
• Cayle Lackten, a defender with Hamilton FC, is also going to the combine. In his most recent 16-game season at Madonna University, the Sydney, N.S.-born prospect recorded five assists;
• Andrew Derayeh, a midfielder from the Toronto Lynx and Saint Bonaventure University, will also make the trip.