Philadelphia Union Academy grad Sebastian Elney and five players who spent time playing for Reading United are on the initial invite list of 60 players for the MLS Combine scheduled for January 3-9 in Orlando.
Elney, a Boca Raton, Florida native, spent his senior year in high school with the Union and was invited to preseason with the first team but his homegrown status was always in question. He was already capped as a youth international when he joined the academy, which was limited by the rules at the time. Elney recently won a national championship with Maryland in his final college game and will likely be drafted.
The five former Reading United players include Syracuse teammates Hugo Delhomelle and Kamal Miller, Akron goalkeeper Ben Lundt, Coastal Carolina defender Kervin Kenton Fadel and UMass Lowell midfielder Jakov Basic. All five players are from outside the U.S.: Miller is from Canada, Lundt is from Germany, Delhomelle is from France, Fadel is from Costa Rica and Basic is from Croatia.
Other players with ties to the area include former Ocean City Nor’easters duo Emil Cuello and Harry Swartz.
International status can be a deterrent for teams in the draft unwilling to take a risk on a college player with one of their eight first team roster spots. Two dozen players out of the initial 60 match that description.
Several others, like Elney, spent time in an MLS academy before college.
They include Amar Bashti (San Jose Earthquakes), Marcello Borges (New York Red Bulls), Brad Dunwell (Chicago Fire), Santiago Patino (Orlando City), Joey Piatczyc (SKC), Amar Sejdic (Real Salt Lake), Ryan Sierakowski (Chicago Fire) and Jacob Hauser-Ramsey (Seattle Sounders).