LAUDERHILL, Fla. – Scanning the hometowns of the 2012 MLS Combine hopefuls evokes a distinctly midwestern feel, as five of the entrants hail from in or around the Chicago metropolitan area.
Unsurprisingly, those five are well aware of each other and their similar routes to the brink of professional soccer.
“We grew up playing against each other at small clubs, and moved up to the bigger clubs in Chicago,” Greg Jordan (above) told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s kind of crazy that all of us are here now trying to become professionals. … I vividly remember meeting [Brendan King and Bryan Gaul] when I was eight years old at an indoor tournament.”
Andrew Duran, Jordan, King, Gaul and Kirk Urso grew up running together in the same youth soccer circles in suburban Chicago, and were already familiar with one another coming into the recently completed combine. Even Andy Rose, originally from England, spent a few years during his youth playing high-level soccer with Jordan and Urso.
“Duran was on the [Chicago] Magic growing up,” Urso said. “I was on Sockers. King and Gaul were on Magic and then Jordan was on Sockers, and [Andy] Rose. We’ve been hanging out and kicking it. … It’s great to see them again and re-live the memories that we have.”
Aside from Duran and Jordan, who played together at Creighton, they all went their separate ways to play in college, with Gaul heading to Bradley, King to Notre Dame, Urso to North Carolina and Rose playing at UCLA after returning to England.
Jordan, Urso and Rose already had one reunion at December’s College Cup, where Urso’s UNC side ultimately triumphed, but the plethora of familiar faces gave them something extra to do with the time between the combine games.
“It’s been awesome,” Urso said. “Off the field, sometimes these trips can be slow, but it hasn’t been that bad because we’ve been hanging out, messing around with each other.”