LAUDERHILL, Fla. – Talk to a member of any MLS technical staff about Thursday’s SuperDraft, and they’ll tell you that the first two picks are as good as decided.
UConn forward Cyle Larin and Washington midfielder Cristian Roldan – both Generation adidas signings – are widely expected to be the first two players off the board, with expansion clubs Orlando City SC and New York City FC expected to nab them with the first two selections.
Who will go third to the Montreal Impact, however, is anyone’s guess. But one player in the mix is University of Central Florida junior forward Romario Williams.
A Jamaican youth international, Williams signed a Generation adidas deal with MLS last week. Along with Roldan, Williams was one of just two GA players to feature at the 2015 adidas MLS Player Combine over the weekend, recording one goal and one assist in three games in South Florida.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound forward showed his full arsenal of skills at the combine, holding the ball well as a lone forward in Team Predator’s scoreless draw on Friday, scoring and assisting in a win on Sunday and taking defenders on to create his own opportunities before leaving with a mild hamstring injury in his side’s finale on Tuesday.
“I think [Tuesday] was definitely the best day of the three for me,” Williams told MLSsoccer.com after his final combine match. “My performance today was more of my style. It was a mixture of everything: Pace, going at defenders, creating my own shots, holding up the ball, having my teammates join and support the play.
"I think today I was able to put all that together and have my best day.”
Williams, who played at the 2011 FIFA Under-17 World Cup and received a call to a camp with the senior Jamaican national team that same year, had a solid college career, scoring 17 goals and notching five assists in his final two seasons at UCF.
Montreal head coach Frank Klopas also thought Williams saved his best performance for Tuesday, praising the Portmore, Jamaica native in an interview at the Combine.
“I think every day he’s been better,” Klopas said. “I think it was much better today, but I think that’s the case with everyone. ... He’s done well, gotten better every game.”
Williams is one of 13 players who will head to Philadelphia on Wednesday for the SuperDraft. He met with the four top pick holders Orlando, New York City, Montreal and San Jose while in South Florida, and – though he doesn’t know where he’ll end up – is ready to cherish everything about his experience on Thursday.
“It’s going to be really nerve-wracking at first, to be honest,” he said. “Obviously I’m excited for the opportunity to be there with the rest of the guys. It’s definitely a special occasion for myself and my family. This is something that you’ve dreamed of as a kid and now your dream is becoming a reality. To walk on that stage ... words can’t explain what that feeling is going to be.”