FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The final day of the MLS Combine came and went much like the days before it: a pair of keenly observed matches in the morning followed by afternoon huddles by respective the coaching staffs.
There were also a few last-ditch standout performances such as that of South Florida’s Warren Creavalle, who had people talking about more than his retro haircut after moving to the midfield from right back.
And while we’re on the subject of last-ditch efforts, Tuesday afternoon was last call for any attempts to enjoy the South Florida sun. While grabbing lunch at the hotel, I saw members of the Fire staff making for the beach, while FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman worked on that ever-present tan of his beside the pool.
Wednesday morning brought an early wakeup call for seemingly every member of the combine delegation staying at the Westin, as the line to check out was as long as Alexi Lalas’ old beard. With only one direct flight to Kansas City, everyone seemed to be heading for the same place at the same time: Ft. Lauderdale International Airport, Terminal 1, Gate B1.
If I thought the hotel lobby was a scene, I can’t even say what the departure lounge was like aside from being a “who’s who” of American soccer, complete with Jaime Moreno impersonations and trade talk. As the coaches, agents, journos, general managers and technical directors lined up to board the flight, all I could think was “This is a fraternity house … with wings.”
It was no Animal House, though, as everyone was on their best behavior; New York assistant Mike Petke read Gary Neville’s autobiography to my left while New England honcho Mike Burns caught up on sleep across the aisle. Behind him, newly appointed Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie did the same, and Revolution great and current Dynamo assistant Steve Ralston buried his head in his laptop in the next row.
As for me, I spent the flight writing this entry into the MLS Combine Diary, which as of now, will be known as the SuperDraft Diary.
Kansas City, here we come.