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Sounders Vegas Combine Discovers Talents, Calibrates Staff

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Servando Carrasco was discovered at the 2010 Vegas Combine and went on to become a frequent player for the 2011 team.
Servando Carrasco was discovered at the 2010 Vegas Combine and went on to become a frequent player for the 2011 team.

One of the writers for another SB Nation MLS blog is wondering if the Seattle Sounders get enough from their Vegas Combine. Shouldn't a team with Seattle's resources be able to capture more talent out of the draft than just those that attend the MLS Combine? Possibly this is true, but it ignores that the Sounders Vegas Combine discovered many talents and it offers the scouting and coaching staff a three day calibration clinic.

In the era of social media several players are known to be at Seattle's combine that are not going to be the MLS combine at this time. Some of these may be added later if they are not of interest to the Sounders but are possible MLS talents. The odd thing about single entity and roster limits it is better to get players signed into the league than have them move down to the NASL or USLPro. With only 52 players already invited to the MLS Combine the League needs to find more talents. Nineteen teams drafting over 6 total rounds means that more than twice that number will be drafted.

Looking at Seattle's short Vegas Combine (previously linked, SSFC.com) history (this is year three of the event) they discovered 29 players in total that were drafted with 21 total being signed to MLS rosters. Three of last years players took the pitch in competitive games for Seattle - Servando Carrasco, Bryan Meredith and Josh Ford.

One that did not sign with MLS, but who is looking like he's going to have a damn fine career is Diego Restrepo. Restrepo went from the 2010 Sounders Combine to sign with America de Cali in Colombia. His decision to not play in MLS is reportedly related to being passed over by the league and so he felt his draft chances were low. Signing Colombia gave him the opportunity to make more money and have more freedom of movement in the future.

More than just discovering talent the ability to get every member of talent evaluation in one place grants Seattle's technical and coaching staff the opportunity to watch the exact same performances and then share their evaluations. The ability to share these direct experiences immediately should improve their objective criteria and communication, something that can be strained with scouts taking trips to small colleges, Tanzania and Honduras during a season.

The coaching staff also gains direct insight into how the scouting side of the team thinks. Normally they are wrapped in cloak of focus on winning the next game. These kinds of offseason events grant them some pause to think one, two and three years into the future.

Seattle is almost certain to draft heavily out of this weekend's combine, last year they used six of their seven picks on attendees, so knowing who is there gives fans a glimpse into possible future Sounders. The list isn't complete, but more names may come out over time and we'll update when that happens. Only about 10% of the attendees are known, but chances are strong one becomes a 2012 Sounder.

Name Postion School Academy
RJ Allen Right back Monmouth Match Fit
Chris Blais Goalkeeper Michigan/South Florida ECFC & JFK High
Chris Estridge Left back Wake/Indiana Brownsburg High
Ferid Celosmanovic Forward Chico State Prospect High
Karo Okiomah Forward High Point U Lonestar Soccer
Nate Polak Forward Hastings College Lincoln Pius X
Josey Portillo Wide Midfielder Florida Gulf New Orleans Academy