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12 Canadians head to Florida, hoping for USL deals

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A dozen Canadian prospects are among the 102 prospects working out at the United Soccer Leagues’ combine, which kicked off Thursday in Bradenton, Fla.

The combine brings together undrafted free agents who are looking to stick in the U.S. third division. The NASL combine goes in Florida in mid-February, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some of these Canadian names surface there. It’s expected that eight or nine Canadians will take part in the NASL combine. Scouts from MLS are also on hand at the USL camp.

On Thursday, goalkeepers will be put through the paces — and that list includes Dalhousie University’s Ben Ur and Ottawa Fury product Brandon Heembrook. Heembrook is one of 57 players at the camp who has experience playing in the PDL.

CIS All-Canadian defender Anthony Costa is also there; he had a standout year in 2011 at McMaster University and was invited down to the camp. For Canadian fans, it would be great to see some CIS grads get pro contracts with MLS clubs, as NASL side FC Edmonton has already had some great success in snapping up Canadian university products such as Paul Hamilton and Paul Craig.

Former Whitecaps Residency product Derrick Bassi is also on hand in Bradenton, Fla. Bassi played in Middlesbrough’s youth set-up with fellow Canadian Shaun Saiko. Last year, Saiko finished as one of the NASL’s Best XI.

Brad Rose… Torontonian and Yale grad is taking a shot at USL

Brad Rose, who just graduated from Yale and previously represented Canada at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, is also at the camp. The Torontonian scored three times and added five assists in his final NCAA season with the Bulldogs.

Kenny Sacramento, who spent some time with FC Edmonton in 2010 when the club played its season of friendlies, is also at the combine.

On Friday, all position players will be put through fitness tests, and play against each other Saturday and Sunday. “We have been delighted to see the success the players that have attended our combine have gone onto in their professional careers,” USL National Technical Director Peter Mellor said in a relase. “We hope even more of them will get a similar opportunity to take their game to the next level following this year’s event.”

CANADIANS IN FLORIDA:

GK Ben Ur, Dalhousie University

GK Brandon Heembrook, Ottawa Fury, Dominican College

D Anthony Costa, McMaster University

D Derrick Bassi, Vancouver Whitecaps U23s, Simon Fraser University

D Jordian Farahani, Thunder Bay Chill, University of Saskatchewan

D Jason Gill, Abbotsford Mariners, University of British Columbia

D Julian Konner McNamara, Toronto Lynx, Oakland University

M Josh Northey, University of Saskatchewan

M Justin Hay, Belmont University

F Jerson Barancida-Hamilton, University of Saskatchewan

F Kenny Sacramento, WSA Winnipeg

F Brad Rose, Toronto Lynx, Yale University

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