Kohei Yamata and Kirk Urso on Day 2 of the Combine

Combine: A week-long reunion for 2007 US U-17 squad

LAUDERHILL, Fla. – Kirk Urso, Mykell Bates, Tommy Meyer and Brandon King all experienced a reunion of sorts over the past week.

Five years ago, the four 2012 MLS Combine players weren’t competing with each other for a spot in the pros. Back then, they were facing a much different set of opposition: the world’s best at the Under-17 World Cup in South Korea while wearing the red, white and blue.

Urso (above, right), Bates, Meyer and King all traveled as part of the US roster that year and, five years later, each has completed his respective collegiate playing career with varying degrees of success.

They’ve spent the last week trying to impress MLS clubs, and the down time between games has given the old friends a chance to reunite.

“It’s fun because you have a lot of things to catch up,” Bates, who went to school at Santa Clara, told MLSsoccer.com. “There’s a lot of free time and we’re all having the same nerves and going through the same experience. We have a lot to talk about. It’s good seeing my old teammates and catching up on things.”

If any of the quartet present in Florida land in MLS, they’ll join former US U-17 teammates like Brek Shea, Kofi Sarkodie, Daniel Cruz, Zac MacMath and Sheanon Williams.

Despite boasting that talent five years ago, the team only managed to make it to the Round of 16, where Germany eliminated them by a 2-1 score.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t do better in the World Cup, but we were a very talented group,” Bates said.

What stuck out to Urso the most from those days is how much time they all spent on the road.

“I was talking to Bates a bit about it, and we just kind of laughed about the amount of travel we did when we were that young,” he said.

With a pro career beckoning – all four are expected to go in either the SuperDraft or next week’s Supplemental Draft – they’ll likely get their chance to travel again and catch up some more.


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