Canton, Ohio Hosts Free International Soccer Event
Players from across the U.S. and Canada gathered in Canton, Ohio this July to participate in the Samurai Sportswear Soccer Combine Presented by Mercy Medical Center. The event is certainly an original one, serving as North America’s first and only free soccer combine for elite players.
The high school girls event took place on July 8-10, 2011 and featured nearly 80 players from across the Midwest U.S. and beyond. Forward Madison Williams (Perrysburg, OH) registered the best times in the 40 yard and 100 yard dash, while goalkeeper Taylor Stano (Massillon, OH) came away with the top kick speed.
Forwards Catie Crumb (Delaware, OH) and McKensey Cross (Canton, OH) emerged from the event as legitimate D-I prospects along with Williams. Freshman striker Marisa Swindell (Salem, OH) was another player to watch after she put in a solid performance over the three-day event.
The boys event, which took place on July 15-17, attracted over 85 players from across the U.S. and Canada. Lake HS standout Kurt Wolf claimed bests in the 40 yard dash, 100 yard dash, and kick speed along with three goals in exhibition matches. Anthony Flowers (New Albany, OH) led all keepers in saves, while Issifou Kankarafou (Pawtucket, RI) led all players in assists.
Thierry Lemay (Gatineau, QC) impressed college coaches with three goals of his own and goalkeeper Corbin Rodriguez (Denton, TX) landed a pair of goals after splitting time as a forward.
Overall the talent assembled at both events was impressive. Bluffton University Assistant Coach Brandon Ponchak agreed. “Ohio, in my opinion, is one of the best soccer states,” the former Dakota Wesleyan assistant stated in an interview with ISNSoccer.com. “There is a lot of talent in Ohio.”
The combine represents a unique model in youth competitive soccer, giving players access to an elite level of soccer at absolutely no charge. In a day and age where money and politics have gained greater importance in the beautiful game, this event gives everyone an opportunity to advance to the next level and beyond.
Event Site Information
Diamond Sports Complex, 2782 Diamond Street Northeast, Canton, OH 44721-2146
Team Hotel Information
Holiday Inn Canton, 4520 Everhard Road Northwest, Canton, OH 44718
Akron Canton Airport (CAK), 5400 Lauby Road, North Canton, OH 44720-1598
HS Girls Schedule (Subject to Change)
July 8 - Registration 3-4:30 pm, Combine Drills/Training 5-8 pm
July 9 - Exhibition Matches 8 am, 12 noon, 4 pm, Educational Session 11 am
July 10 - Exhibition Matches 8 am, 12 noon, 4 pm
HS Boys Schedule (Subject to Change)
July 15 - Registration 3-4:30 pm, Combine Drills/Training 5-8 pm
July 16 - Exhibition Matches 8 am, 12 noon, 4 pm
July 17 - Exhibition Matches 8 am, 12 noon, 4 pm
"All participants should be thrilled to take part in this combine as there will be a host of coaches and scouts looking for the next big talent in America. I wish I had this opportunity as a kid because it is quite incredible to have an opportunity like this at no charge." -Gordon Kljestan, former L.A. Galaxy and New York Red Bulls defender
"It is a great opportunity to get noticed by top level teams and coaches. All participants should take full advantage of this wonderful opportunity to prove themselves. It is a great event, put on by a professional group." -Michael Pertz, former Real Maryland FC and Crystal Palace Baltimore defender
"As a premier soccer player in high school, I can honestly say that it is very important to be seen by college coaches and scouts. Most camps charge small fortunes for this opportunity; however, with this combine, players can not only participate free of charge, but they are given top-quality coaching and an experience that lasts a lifetime."-Bijan Malaklou, 2010 combine participant
International Soccer Event Returns to Stark County
CANTON, OH - June 13, 2011 - International Soccer Network LLC is proud to announce the return of North America's first and only free soccer combine for high school athletes. The 2011 Samurai Sportswear Soccer Combine Presented by Mercy Medical Center will take place at the Diamond Sports Complex in Canton, Ohio in picturesque Plain Township.
High school girls will participate in a three-day weekend event on July 8-10, followed by the combine for high school boys on July 15-17. Elite players capable of playing at the high levels of collegiate soccer will be traveling to Stark County from across the U.S. and Canada.
"We are excited to bring this free combine back to Stark County and Plain Township," Gary L. Moody Jr., editor of International Soccer Network LLC stated. "We provide players with an opportunity to compete against unparalleled competition, gain valuable exposure, and be seen by high quality college coaches. They get a three-day event for free, which is unheard of in the world of youth sports."
"We want to thank all of our sponsors for their generosity and support, especially Samurai Sportswear," Moody continued. "Without them, this event would not be possible."
The event is designed to serve several purposes. First, the combine will provide elite players an opportunity to showcase their talent to media members and college coaches for free. Second, local players are given a chance to compete against players from across North America.
Third, it gives Northeast Ohio an opportunity to be seen as a hotbed for youth soccer and gain exposure for one of the best soccer markets in all of the United States. "The University of Akron, the country's top men's soccer program, is just up the road," Moody explained. "We have a new professional soccer club coming to Cleveland in 2012 and the Bothwell Cup returning to Diamond Sports Complex this fall. It is a great time to be a soccer player and fan here in Ohio."
Finally, the combine is seen as a tool to promote the sport of soccer throughout North America. Soccer is growing in popularity in every corner of the continent with over 60,000 registered players in Ohio alone.
The 2011 Samurai Sportswear Soccer Combine is made possible through the support of our local, national, and international sponsors including Samurai Sportswear, Mercy Medical Center, Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, Canton Stark County Convention and Visitors' Bureau, Pelé Sports, Holiday Inn Canton, Fox Soccer Channel, SONIC Drive-In (Nobles Pond and Washington Square locations), Old Carolina Barbeque Company, Donatos Pizza (North Main Street, North Canton location), Chick-fil-A at Westfield Belden Village Mall, Subside Sports, OnlineSoccerAcademy.com, CollegeRecruitingWebsite.com, The Social Footballer, Total Soccer Magazine, Kishman's IGA, Farmakidis Allstate Agency, Philly Connection, Telcommand Coaching System, Skillzys, and Spectrum Soccer School Inc.
The combine is also used to promote the good work of two charity partners, One World Futbol Project and the HandsOnSports Foundation.
Thank you to all who have contributed to this event!
Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce
Canton Stark County Convention and Visitors' Bureau
Mercy Medical Center
Holiday Inn Canton
Fox Soccer Channel
SONIC Drive-In (Nobles Pond location)
SONIC Drive-In (Washington Square location)
Old Carolina Barbeque Company
Chick-fil-A at Westfield Belden Village Mall
Donatos Pizza (North Main Street, North Canton location)
The Social Footballer
Total Soccer Magazine
Farmakidis Allstate Agency
Spectrum Soccer School Inc.
Temple University Press
Plain Township-Stark County, Ohio
Telcommand Coaching System
One World Futbol Project