As the close of the Major League Soccer regular season approaches with Decision Day presented by AT&T on October 28, only six teams from each conference will advance to the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs, while the remaining MLS clubs will begin preparations for 2019. MLS today announced details for three of the roster building mechanisms that clubs will employ to bolster their rosters for the 2019 season.
On Friday, January 11, MLS expansion-club FC Cincinnati will have the first overall selection in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas, set to take place in Chicago, Ill. at McCormick Place convention center. Standout selections from recent SuperDrafts include Julian Gressel (selected eighth overall by Atlanta United in 2017), Tim Parker (selected by Vancouver Whitecaps FC in 2015 and traded to the New York Red Bulls in 2018), Cristian Roldan (selected 16th overall by Seattle Sounders FC in 2015), as well as Andre Blake (selected first overall by Philadelphia Union in 2014).
Prior to the SuperDraft, coaches and technical directors from around the league will take the opportunity to prepare by attending the 2019 adidas MLS Player Combine in Orlando, Fla. The Combine will be held from January 3-9 at Orlando City Stadium, home of Orlando City SC and site of the 2019 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target, as a three-day showcase of the top young talent eligible for selection.
In addition to the showcase in Florida, MLS will also conduct the dual-location 2018 MLS Caribbean Combine in Kingston, Jamaica (Oct. 15-18) and Bridgetown, Barbados (Oct. 22-25).
The MLS Caribbean Combine is a result of the partnership between MLS and Concacaf that serves as a pathway for the best players, under the age of 24, in the Caribbean area to showcase their talent for MLS clubs. Through an expanded format, this scouting opportunity has grown from one event, featuring 22 players from 15 countries, to two events this year featuring 40 players from up to 30 countries, with 20 players taking part both in Kingston and Bridgetown.
The most highly touted prospects will be named MLS Caribbean Combine Most Valuable Players and will earn invitations to the adidas MLS adidas Player Combine in Orlando.
MLS Caribbean Combine participants will be coached by Trinidad hero and one of the top goal scorers in MLS history, Stern John, as well as legendary Jamaican National Team and MLS stars Andy Williams, Wolde Harris, and Shavar Thomas. The Caribbean area has continually produced breakout MLS stars, including playoff-bound Jamaican-born New York Red Bulls defender Kemar Lawrence who participated in the inaugural Caribbean Combine.