With the 2014 MLS Expansion Draft in the books, the offseason is in full effect.
Over the weekend, Crew SC hosted its second annual College Combine at Woody Hayes Athletic Center at The Ohio State University. The event allowed Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter to get an up close look at the regional college talent that may be available in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft in Philadelphia on January 15.
Players from Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and beyond were invited to participate in the combine.
"The goal of the combine is to work with the regional college coaches to identify some of the players and have a look at them, specifically guys that may not be invited to the [2015 adidas MLS Player] Combine," said Berhalter. "We had a mix of players this year. We actually expanded the radius and reached out beyond the region."
The jumpstart on college scouting is invaluable, as the Black & Gold found out during the 2014 season with the emergence of striker Adam Bedell. Absent from the adidas MLS Player Combine invitee list in 2013, the University of Detroit Mercy product participated in Crew SC's College Combine to garner attention from Berhalter and his staff. The six-foot-seven forward was then selected 45th overall in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and went on to earn seven starts and score two goals in his rookie campaign.
In controlling the environment of Crew SC's College Combine, Berhalter hoped to discover similar talent that can contribute in 2015. Getting to know players in a personal setting is extremely beneficial, said Berhalter.
"It’s good because you get to observe the players in a controlled setting," explained the Sporting Director and Head Coach. "The workload is monitored strictly, so the players are fresh and ready to perform. You get to be more personable with the players. You get to communicate with them, and watch them up close. Where as, at the [MLS] Combine, it’s at a distance."
With 30 days to go until the SuperDraft, there is still work left to do for the Crew SC technical staff. Selecting 14th overall in the SuperDraft, Berhalter has put his trust in Assistant Coach Pat Onstad to evaluate talent from around the country.
"Pat’s been spearheading [scouting] efforts, and he’s been doing a great job," said Berhalter. "He’s been traveling all over the country identifying the top prospects.
"We’re confident we’ll go into the [2015 MLS SuperDraft] extremely prepared."