The first-ever Houston Dynamo/RGV FC Goalkeeper Combine took place at Houston Sports Park just before the holiday break, as goalkeepers from USL, Division I, Division II, NAIA and more participated in three days of intensive training led by Dynamo goalkeepers coach Paul Rogers.
Goalkeepers already in the professional game, those entering the pro ranks this spring, and even some still in school took part in two sessions per day of goalkeeper-specific training in a professional atmosphere under the watchful eyes of Rogers and his staff.
A total of 13 goalkeepers took part in the combine, four of which are expected to take part in the 2018 MLS adidas Player Combine in Orlando from January 11-18. The combine gave Rogers an up-close look at a wide range of ‘keepers as the technical staff looks to fill out the goalkeeping units for both the Dynamo and RGV FC Toros in the USL.
“For the Dynamo, the benefit for us is to have first-hand contact with these college goalkeepers before the [MLS] Combine, get a feel for their personalities, see a little bit of their training,” Rogers said. “You see the tape from the season, you go out and watch them in the season, but it’s nice to get that first-hand connection with them both on and off the field.”
Rogers noted that they were able to bring in many of the top goalkeepers they wanted to see, and that the success in the first year will plant the seed as they build on the event for future years.
“It’s something we want to do annually,” Rogers added. “Overall I think it was very, very successful and will help us moving forward.”
Selected Goalkeeper Bios
2017: Portland Pilots
Hometown: Woodinville, WA
Born: April 15, 1996
Christensen started in goal all four years at the University of Portland, keeping 20 shutouts in 72 total games while being named West Coast Conference Goalkeeper of the Year twice. He spent four years in the Seattle Sounders Academy and four semesters in the U.S. Soccer U-17 National Team Residency program.
2017: Stanford Cardinal
Hometown: Westlake Village, CA
Born: June 2, 1995
Corti became the full-time starter for powerhouse Stanford in 2017 and only allowed nine goals in 23 games as the Cardinal went on to win their third consecutive national championship in December. Born in Brussels, Belgium, Corti made the College Cup All-Tournament Team and All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention as a redshirt senior last year.
2017: Connecticut Huskies
Hometown: Stamford, CT
Levene took over the starting goalkeeper spot for UConn midway through his redshirt freshman year and started 70 consecutive matches, passing current MLS star Andre Blake for second longest streak in program history. Levene conceded just 57 goals in his 70 career games, and had shutouts in 31 matches. He was named Second Team All-Conference last year in the American Athletic Conference.
2017: Harrisburg City Islanders (USL)
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Born: December 26, 1989
Miller has carved out a career in USL since graduating from UNC-Wilmington, winning the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year award in 2015. Miller played three seasons for the Rochester Rhinos before playing a season for Orange County Blues in 2016. The Charlotte native moved to the Islanders (now Penn FC) in 2017 and kept seven clean sheets in 25 games.
2017: Southern Methodist Mustangs
Hometown: Katy, TX
Nelson, a native of Katy and graduate of Seven Lakes High School, was American Athletic Conference Goalkeeper of the Year and First Team All-Conference as a redshirt freshman, sophomore, and senior at SMU. He also made the All-East Region First Team last season, leading the Mustangs to their most wins in a season since 2006 (17) and the third round of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship.