ORLANDO – Western Michigan’s Brandon Bye led the way in performance testing at the 2018 adidas MLS Player Combine on Friday, clocking in as the only player to finish in the top 10 in the speed, agility and power tests at Orlando City Stadium.
Capable of playing as a right back or a forward, Bye tied for fourth in the speed test with a 3.93 second 30-meter dash, finished third in the agility test with a 4.06 second 5-10-5 shuttle run and placed eighth in the power test with a 30.5-inch vertical jump.
Washington fullback Justin Fiddes finished first in the speed test by running the 30-meter dash in 3.84 seconds, well ahead of second-place finishers Carter Manley and Wyatt Omsberg. Wisconsin attacker Chris Mueller took the agility test with a time of 4.03 seconds, while Creighton midfielder/forward Ricky Lopez-Espin won the power test with a vertical jump of 33.5 inches.
While Bye was the only player to place in the top 10 in all three categories, seven other players – Manley, Mueller, Omsberg, Will Bagrou, Tristan Blackmon, Mamadou Guirassy and Mark Segbers – finished in the top 10 in two of the three categories.
While they’re less important than a player’s technical and tactical ability and overall makeup, some clubs do find value in the performance tests, particularly in the later rounds of the SuperDraft. Teams typically don’t have as much information on potential third- and fourth-round selections as they do for top prospects, but the results give them a baseline measure of athleticism for every player.
“Yeah, absolutely, we find value in the performance testing,” Real Salt Lake GM Craig Waibel told MLSsoccer.com on Friday. “We’re still trying to figure out what are the mechanisms by which you can get the most out of it like you have in the NFL combine, which I think has it down to an absolute science as to what translates from a strength, speed and performance perspective into their drafts. We’re still trying to do that as a league, we’re growing, we have to be realistic about where we are, but we take those numbers really seriously.
“A lot of times you get into the second round, the third round, the fourth round and you don’t know the player inside and out, you haven’t studied him, but one thing you do know is if their athleticism can translate into a training session. So I actually think it’s really important to have those numbers, though I do think we’re still trying to get it right in terms of what translates.”
Speed Test (30-meter dash)
|1. Justin Fiddes||Washington||D||3.84|
|2. Carter Manley||Duke||D||3.90|
|4. Will Bagrou||Mercer||F||3.93|
|Brandon Bye||Western Michigan||D/F||3.93|
|7. Mark Segbers||Wisconsin||D/F||3.94|
|8. Edward Opoku||Virginia||M||3.95|
|9. Jon Gallagher||Notre Dame||F||3.97|
|10. Frandtzy Pierrot||Coastal Carolina||F||3.99|
|Ema Twumasi||Wake Forest||M||3.99|
Agility Test (5-10-5 shuttle)
|1. Chris Mueller||Wisconsin||F||4.03|
|2. Tristan Blackmon||Pacific||D||4.05|
|3. Brandon Bye||Western Michigan||D/F||4.06|
|4. Jordan Jones||Oregon State||F||4.09|
|7. Tomas Hilliard-Arce||Stanford||D||4.10|
|8. Danny Musovski||UNLV||F||4.12|
|9. Brian White||Duke||M/F||4.13|
|10. Niko DeVera||Akron||D||4.14|
Power Test (vertical jump)
|1. Ricky Lopez-Espin||Creighton||M/F||33.5|
|2. Michael Nelson||SMU||GK||33|
|3. Tristan Blackmon||Pacific||D||32.5|
|4. Mamadou Guirassy||NJIT||F||31.5|
|7. Mark Segbers||Wisconsin||D/F||31|
|8. Brandon Bye||Western Michigan||D/F||30.5|
|9. Harry Cooksley||St. John's||M||30|
|10. Will Bagrou||Mercer||F||29.5|