With just a few days to go before the MLS Combine (Jan. 8-11) and then, ultimately, the 2011 SuperDraft (Jan. 13), teams are examining film and making preparations.
There are a total of 54 college seniors invited to the Combine (in addition to the nine Generation adidas invitees). Here's a look at 10 of those seniors we think are capable of taking it to the next level.
Justin Meram, F, Michigan
His performance in the NCAA Tournament turned some heads. A strong, robust forward with a nose for goal, nothing has come easy for Meram, who plays with a chip on his shoulder.
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Michael Farfan, M, North Carolina
Two years after transferring from Cal State Fullerton in search of a bigger challenge, the attacking midfielder has found success in the ACC. Some scouts view Farfan as one of a few players who can make a difference in his rookie year.
Jason Herrick, F, Maryland
The forward only hit double-digit goal totals in his senior year with 11 and had some injury problems, and he missed the whole season in 2007. However, he's one of the five best senior forwards available, a quality finisher who scored some very pretty goals last year.
Daniel Keat, M, Dartmouth
A box-to-box midfielder from New Zealand, this Kiwi could be a valuable pickup for a club looking at improving its depth in the middle and out wide.
A.J. Soares, D, California
The Pac-10 Player of the Year and NSCAA First Team All-American is tabbed as the “Tim Ream” of 2011. Soares is considered the best senior prospect in central defense.
Jalil Anibaba, D, North Carolina
A transfer from Santa Clara prior to 2010, Anibaba was a starter for all 24 games in a Tar Heels uniform. He’s a strong, quick, and athletic center back who will push Soares as the top of the senior defensive class.
C.J. Sapong, F, James Madison
The physical tools and athleticism are there for Sapong, as well as the drive and desire. Would certainly add an exciting attacking talent, possibly going in the second or third round.
Anthony Ampaipitakwong, M, Akron
A small, diminutive midfielder with a playmaker’s instinct, Ampaipitakwong could fit in with the right team. His size factors against him, but if he works to improve, his strength could be successful.
Cole Grossman, M, Duke
The central midfielder was one of the Blue Devils' three dangerous weapons in attack. He boasts an impressive statistical output with 10 goals and eight assists and could be a valuable second-round pick.
Jeff Attinella, G, South Florida
Probably the best pick of the senior 'keepers, Attinella had a bit of an off year after finishing as a First Team All-American in 2009. Though he's currently on trial with a club in Portugal, he would be a good backup if he elects for MLS.