At this point, Omsberg is used to being overlooked. The Maine native has been lightly regarded for basically his entire soccer career, ignored by major colleges coming out of high school and not considered an elite MLS prospect despite a sparkling four years at Dartmouth.
While he entered the week overshadowed by fellow center back prospects Tomas Hilliard-Arce and Joao Moutinho, Omsberg has turned heads in Orlando. The 6-foot-4 defender performed well in physical testing last Friday, finishing tied for second in the 30-meter dash and tied for fourth in the 5-10-5 shuttle run. He was been solid in the first two Combine matches, rarely putting a foot wrong for Team Nemeziz.
He’s a long way from his tiny hometown of Belgrade, Maine (population, 3,176), where most of his initial soccer development consisted of losing out to his older brother in drills run by their dad, a former college player, at nearby parks and schools. He and his family moved to the comparative metropolis of Scarborough, Maine before high school, but Omsberg still didn’t have many options for college soccer.
“I wasn’t recruited by a whole lot of DI schools, probably only like five or six in total: a couple Ivies, a couple Patriot League schools,” he told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “Really, the only reason Dartmouth kind of found me was because I went to their camp, I was exposed to them up front and personal and they showed a lot of interest. If it weren’t for that, I could’ve ended up at a D-III school.”
Excited to watch @MLS combine again 2mor. Dartmouth Wyatt Omsberg is by far the best CB in this draft.He’s a more athletic Omar Gonzalez at the next level. If he was at a so call big name program he would seriously B considered for the top pick in this draft, thats how good he is— Chris Gbandi (@chrisgbandi) January 15, 2018
Despite having to make a huge jump from Maine high school and club soccer to the Division I level, Omsberg quickly found the field at Dartmouth. He started 16 games and was named Ivy League honorable mention his freshman year, then earned First Team All-Ivy honors his sophomore year before winning the conference’s Defender of the Year award in 2016 and 2017.
“I think he’s number one [in terms of guys I model my game off of],” Omsberg said of Hedges. “He’s the one that my coaches have said kind of try and play like him because he’s physically kind of the same height, he’s really good with his feet, plays great passes, also just a good defender and a good leader out of the back, so he’s the big one for me to watch.”
One scout said this week that Omsberg would be getting talked up as a potential top-five pick in Friday’s MLS SuperDraft had he gone to a higher-profile school. Others said they expect the 22-year-old to be nabbed in the first round. That’d be a first for a player from Maine, with former Seattle Sounders striker Roger Levesque currently holding top billing as the most notable player to come out of the state.
“There’ll probably a little bit of disbelief, I guess, if I get drafted. Not a whole lot of people would expect that a kind from Maine’s getting drafted by an MLS team,” he said. “But overall I’d just be really excited. I’ve worked pretty hard to put myself in the best position possible with soccer and I’d just be excited to get to work for whoever believes in me, excited to give it my best.”