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Big East Soccer roundup: MLS Combine invites Cooksley, DePaul hires a new coach

Will Harry Cooksley make a strong impression before the MLS draft?

Wendell Cruz

St. John’s senior Harry Cooksley, the Big East Offensive Player of the Year and Third Team All American by College Soccer News, will have his shot to make a strong impression on the Major League Soccer talent scouts at the annual Adidas MLS Players Combine in January, which is the last evaluation before the MLS draft on January 19th.

Of 60 players recently invited to the Adidas MLS Players Combine, seven of them are coming from Big East Schools:

  • St. John’s’ midfielder/forward Harry Cooksley,
  • Xavier defender Cory Brown,
  • Butler goalie and reigning Big East Goalkeeper of the Year Eric Dick,
  • Georgetown midfielder Chris Lema,
  • Creighton’s forward Ricky Lopez-Espin,
  • Creighton defender Lucas Stauffer,
  • and Providence forward Mac Steeves.

For St. John’s, Cooksley is the first Red Storm player invited to the combine since Tim Parker was in 2015. Parker was later drafted in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft by the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Cooksley is a very intriguing prospect. He has the speed, quickness, and technical ability of the traditional number 10 player, but he has the size and strength of a center half, making him a hot commodity.

Cooksley picking the ball up at midfield and successfully taking on opponent’s entire backlines became a very familiar sight for St. John’s fans.

As a senior, he battled injuries, missing five games; but still tied for the team lead in points, with 16.

If Cooksley can maintain the positive work rate that he achieved during this past senior season, he could be a very valuable draft pick for any MLS team.

Cooksley and the 59 other attendees will head to Orlando to compete in the combine, which runs from January 11-17 and coincides with the MLS SuperDraft itself.

He signed to a management team that former St. John’s midfielder Ben Roth works for as a marketing coordinator. The management team, led by Remington Ellis represents other young MLS stars, such as NYCFC’s Jack Harrison. Former SJU defender and current New York Red Bull Connor Lade is also represented by Ellis.

New coach for DePaul men’s soccer

In other Big East soccer news, DePaul officially hired Mark Plotkin as their new head coach. Plotkin, was a four year starter for the Blue Demons, and is a former assistant. Plotkin takes over DePaul having been an assistant coach at Colgate for the past four seasons.

The Blue Demons are coming off a disappointing season, finishing 5-11-2 (2-6-1). Plotkin will look to restore some of the glory he achieved during his playing days in Chicago, which ended in 2010.

As a player, Plotkin won a Big East Red Division Title and was a part of the first DePaul squad to make the NCAA tournament.

Will his youth and connection to DePaul elevate the Blue Demons?