Rafael Diaz invited to MLS' January pre-draft 2014 Combine

Norman Rose

St. John's goalkeeper Rafael Diaz is among 50 NCAA Division I seniors selected to participate in Major League Soccer's annual MLS Player Combine in Ft. Lauderdale, FL from January 10-14. The seniors were selected by a committee of NCAA Division I coaches and MLS representatives for a shot to impress MLS executives; Diaz will have a chance to join former Johnnie Connor Lade (New York Red Bulls) in the American soccer league.

Diaz started all 20 of St. John's games, compiling a record of 11 wins, seven losses and two ties. Diaz kept a clean sheet nine times and made 67 saves to 17 goals allowed in 2013 for the Red Storm, who lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Virginia. His average of .80 goals against was second-best in the Big East, and he earned a second-team All-Big-East selection. He was a first-team honoree in 2012 as a junior.

Diaz had 32 shutouts in his career, a St. John's record.

Three other goalkeepers (listed in the table below) were selected to the combine from the senior ranks. Two other Big East players were selected: defender Nick Hagglund (Xavier) and midfielder Steve Neumann (Georgetown). (And there's even a guy from Rosedale, Queens, from Maryland- Baltimore County.)

The combine will add names of other seniors from lower-Division programs, underclassmen and international invitees in the coming weeks. The MLS SuperDraft will be conducted on January 16 at noon.

From MLS Soccer, the full list of senior combine participants:

First Name Last Name School Pos. Hometown BIO
Kingsley Baiden UC Santa Barbara M Ajumako, Ghana BIO
Steve Birnbaum California D Irving, Calif. BIO
Zach Bolden University of Denver M/F Denver, Colo. BIO
Romena Bowie Virginia Commonwealth M/F Saint Mary, Jamaica BIO
Reinaldo Brenes Akron F San José, Costa Rica BIO
Jacob Bushue Indiana D Champaign, Ill. BIO
Michael Calderon New Mexico M San José, Costa Rica BIO
Enrique Cardenas UC Irvine F Coachella, Calif. BIO
Pete Caringi UMBC F Perry Hall, Md. BIO
Victor Chavez UCLA F Fontana, Calif. BIO
Kevin Cope Michigan State D Canton, Mich. BIO
AJ Corrado Indiana M Zionsville, Ind. BIO
Kadeem Dacres UMBC M Rosedale, N.Y. BIO
Robert Derschang Akron D/M Englewood, Colo. BIO
Rafael Diaz St. John’s GK Rockaway, N.J. BIO
Joey Dillon Georgetown D/M Rochester Hills, Mich. BIO
Mamadou Diouf Connecticut F Dakar, Senegal BIO
George Fochive Connecticut M Paris, France BIO
Adnan Gabeljic Saint Louis F St. Louis, Mo. BIO
Tyler Gibson UNC-Charlotte M Knoxville, Tenn. BIO
Luca Gimenez Wake Forest M/F São Paulo, Brazil BIO
Nick Hagglund Xavier D Cincinnati, Ohio BIO
Kees Heemskerk College of Charleston GK Zaandam, Netherlands BIO
Michael Kafari New Mexico M Accra, Ghana BIO
Nikita Kotlov Indiana M Indianapolis, Ind. BIO
JJ Koval Stanford M Camarillo, Calif. BIO
Daniel Lovitz Elon M Wyndmoor, Pa. BIO
Alex Martinez NC State M/F Rock Hill, S.C. BIO
Thomas McNamara Clemson M West Nyack, N.Y. BIO
Patrick Mullins Maryland F New Orleans, La. BIO
Victor Munoz UCLA M Madrid, Spain BIO
Ryan Neil California M Mission Viejo, Calif. BIO
Steve Neumann Georgetown M/F New Hope, Pa. BIO
Jimmy Ockford Louisville D Yardley, Pa. BIO
Fabian Otte NC State GK Münster, Germany BIO
Taylor Peay Washington D Salt Lake City, Utah BIO
Harrison Petts Indiana M Zionsville, Ind. BIO
Mackenzie Pridham Cal Poly F Toronto, Ontario BIO
Aodhan Quinn Akron M San Diego, Calif. BIO
Pedro Ribeiro Coastal Carolina M/F Belo Horizonte, Brazil BIO
Spencer Richey Washington GK Seattle, Wash. BIO
Mark Sherrod Memphis F Knoxville, Tenn. BIO
Eric Stevenson Akron M Columbus, Ohio BIO
Alec Sundly California M Capistrano Beach, Calif. BIO
Ben Sweat USF D Palm Harbor, Fla. BIO
Alex Sweetin Saint Louis M Overland Park, Kan. BIO
Kristopher Tyrpak Houston Baptist F Dripping Springs, Texas BIO
Grant Van de Casteele Notre Dame D Plano, Texas BIO
Kyle Venter New Mexico D Aurora, Colo. BIO
Jared Watts Wake Forest M Statesville, N.C. BIO
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