Dec. 9, 2010
BERKELEY - Five members of the California men's soccer team earned invitations to the 2011 adidas Major League Soccer Combine, MLS announced on Thursday. Senior Golden Bears Servando Carrasco, Hector Jimenez, Demitrius Omphroy, Davis Paul and A.J. Soares claimed combine invitations, surpassing the previous Cal record of three combine invitees in 2005 and matching North Carolina for the most athletes invited to the prelude to the 2011 MLS SuperDraft.
"This is a tremendous honor for Servando, Hector, Demitrius, Davis and A.J.," Cal head coach Kevin Grimes said. "They have had tremendous careers here at Cal and are amongst the best that have ever worn the Cal jersey. We will miss them dearly, but feel very fortunate that they will have an outstanding opportunity to play soccer at the next level."
A panel of NCAA Division I and MLS coaches selected a total of 54 college seniors from 36 Division I schools to invite to the combine, which will take place in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., from Jan. 7-11, 2011. This is an initial list of invitees, as MLS will also invite players from Division II, Division III and NAIA schools as well as players from the Generation adidas program to the combine in the upcoming weeks.
The five Bears were starters and integral members of Cal's run to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinal round this season. The 2010 squad was arguably Cal's best team in program history, as it matched the 2005 Bears for Cal's deepest postseason run and, unlike that 2005 team, won the Pac-10 title. The 2005 Bears included MLS Combine invitees Calen Carr, Eric Kronberg and Tyson Wahl.
A product of San Diego, Carrasco posted career highs in points (17) and goals (7) in his final season as a Bear. One of three co-captains, along with Jimenez and Soares, Carrasco collected All-Pac-10 and Pac-10 All-Academic honors from 2008-10. The talented midfielder was one of five Bears on the 2010 All-Pac-10 first team and a key factor in Cal's Pac-10 championship season. Carrasco converted two of Cal's three penalty kicks, including the equalizer in the Bears' eventual 2-1 double overtime victory over UC Santa Barbara in the NCAA Tournament's second round on Nov. 21 in Berkeley.
One of the top playmakers in program history and a three-time All-Pac-10 first-team member, Jimenez wound up second on Cal's all-time assist list with 28. The Bell Gardens, Calif., native collected two goals and six assists playing in midfield in 2010. Perhaps his biggest goal this season came in an Oct. 29 double overtime match against Washington in Berkeley, where Jimenez scored the game-winning goal in the 109th minute. The first member of his family who will graduate from college, Jimenez earned a spot on the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District team last season.
The 2010 Pac-10 Player of the Year and a two-time first team All-Pac-10 honoree, Soares is also a Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy semifinalist. Under his guidance, the Cal defense allowed just 13 goals during the regular season and posted one postseason shutout in 2010. The central defender was also a key contributor on the offensive end this season, posting career highs in points (11) and goals (5). A native of Solana Beach, Calif., Soares scored the game-winning goal in a 3-0 rout of San Diego State on Oct. 15 in Berkeley. He also earned two Pac-10 Player of the Week honors and Pac-10 All-Academic accolades this year.
Omphroy, a San Francisco Bay Area native from Alameda, Calif., was one of Cal's most versatile players throughout his four years in Berkeley. He played as a forward in 2008, as a midfielder in 2009 and as Cal's right back in 2010. Last summer, he trained in the heat of Panama City with the Panamanian national team and then ended his Cal career in the snow in Akron, Ohio, on Dec. 4, as the Bears' season concluded in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinal match against the Zips. Omphroy collected a career-high six assists in 2010.
The 2010 Bears set the school's single-season assist record with 49 thanks in large part to Paul. The Upland, Calif., forward added to his Cal single-season assist record (14) when he set up sophomore forward John Fitzpatrick for the eventual game-winning goal against Brown in the NCAA Tournament's third round on Nov. 28 in Berkeley. Paul ranks fourth on Cal's career assist list with 21 and scored 30 points in his final season, tying Carr for sixth place on the school's single-season points list. Paul led the Bears with career highs in goals (8), assists, points and game-winning goals (5) in 2010. Perhaps his biggest goal of the season came in the postseason win over UCSB, in which Paul scored with one second remaining in the first overtime to give Cal a sudden victory. During the regular season, he led the Pac-10 in points (27), assists (13) and gamewinners (4). Like Soares, he claimed two Pac-10 Player of the Week honors.