American Exports: Pair of Virginia strikers on trial in Sweden
AMSTERDAM — University of Virginia forwards Will Bates and Brian Ownby are set to begin a 10-day training visit with Swedish top-flight outfit Mjällby on Friday.
Bates, a 20-year-old junior (pictured above), led the Cavaliers in scoring last season with eight goals and four assists. Ownby, a 21-year-old senior who scored at the 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, finished a close second on the team with seven goals and three helpers.
"They have arrived and will start training tomorrow," Mjällby sport director Thomas Andersson Borstam told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Thursday. "We will take a look at them."
Though the players were not scouted by the club, they've come recommended as part of a concerted effort to build a soccer pipeline to the United States.
"We think [America] is an interesting market," said Borstam. "They have good development now, they always fight and work hard. They can come and learn how we do things and we can learn from them."
That being said, the exec would not rule out the possibility of trying to sign a sufficiently impressive visitor. Earlier this year, Mjällby landed Samuel Petrone out of Seton Hall and the forward has already made two league appearances.
"You never know," stated Borstam.
Mjällby, who stand 13th in the Allsvenskan through 10 games, return to action with a Sunday visit to Elfsborg.