The atmosphere was upbeat and the play was fast-paced as the defending 2011 NASL Champion Minnesota Stars kicked off their 2012 preseason by hosting a combine at the National Sports Center Sports Hall on Friday. Although the combine was targeted for Minnesota players, several candidates from other states and countries, even as far away as France, made the trip to impress the Minnesota Stars coaching staff.
According to Djorn Buchholz, CEO of the Minnesota Stars, “The main purpose was to find talent that is local.” Buchholz noted that the Stars are committed to giving local players a chance to make the squad and pointed out that last season’s roster included local players such as defender Brian Kallman and midfielder Andrei Gotsmanov. Buchholz also noted, “this is a chance for other players to be seen by the coaches and make the team.”
Coach Manny Lagos concurred with Buchholz about the importance of finding local talent, and the development of soccer players for the 2012 squad. “The pathway to pro soccer for a young player in terms of development may take a few years, but there are different avenues each player can take,” noted Lagos. Coach Lagos went on to state that the combine gave him a chance to see if a player had “the right tools to play D2 soccer,” and that he was looking to add talent at their forward and outside midfield positions.
During the morning session, the 34 players who signed up for the combine were split into three teams. They then played a series of 20-minute 8 v 8 matches. Following a lunch break, the players continued their audition by playing full-field 11 v 11 matches in front of coaches Manny Lagos, Carl Craig and Kevin Friedland. Coach Lagos indicated that players fitting the needs of the team will be asked to attend the team’s February combine or possibly start training with current Stars players who stayed in the Twin Cities during the off-season.
Information regarding the next Stars combine, which will be held on February 21-23, can be found on here. All players wishing to attend this combine are required to register in advance, and attendees will then be selected from that pool.
Player roster from Friday’s combine:
Name City/State/Country Year Born
Caleb Norman White Bear Lake, MN 1989
Jonathan Linke Cottage Grove, MN 1990
Jason Adams Little Canada, MN 1989
Ryan Cammarota Neenah, WI 1990
Andrew Hill Erie, CO 1989
Hendrik Hohlfeld Eden Prairie, MN 1994
Iyengumwena Emwinromwanekhoe Brooklyn Park 1992
Mohammed El Hilali Little Canada, MN 1984
Drew Carlson South St. Paul, MN 1987
Angel Riera Minneapolis, MN 1990
Samake Mamadou Paris, France 1991
Mehmed Jasenac Coon Rapids, MN 1996
Michael Werdien Coon Rapids, MN 1990
Jorge A Kefati Zelaya Willmar, MN 1986
Kwaku Amaoh St. Cloud, MN 1992
Amilcar Mijares Burnsville, MN 1979
Jake Schlitz Coon Rapids, MN 1991
Alberto Nova Italy 1984
Ben Metcalfe Mankato, MN 1984
Sebastian Kramer Savage 1988
David Cameron San Antonio, TX 1985
Ole Froystad St. Anthony, MN 1986
Graham Lynch Charleston, IL 1988
Michael Mbu St. Paul, MN 1987
Ejiro Newton-Denila St. Cloud, MN 1991