SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Continuing with their postseason accolades, seniors Erik Hurtado and Larry Jackson of the Santa Clara men's soccer team have been invited to the Major League Soccer Player's Combine (MLS) held Jan. 11-15 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Both players will showcase their talents in hopes of being selected in the MLS SuperDraft Jan. 17 in Indianapolis at 9 am Pacific.
Hurtado was named the 2012 West Coast Conference Player of the Year and Jackson was named the 2012 WCC Goalkeeper of the Year. Santa Clara is one of just 13 schools to have multiple players invited to the MLS Combine and the only school in the WCC to have anyone invited.
In the past week, Hurtado has been named an NSCAA All-American (third team) and to the NSCAA All Far West Region (first team). Jackson was named to the NSCAA All Far West Region team as well (third team). Both had standout senior seasons in the WCC!
Both Broncos players are really excited about the opportunity and Bronco head coach Cam Rast was quick to congratulate them. ""For Larry and Erik to be selected is a great reflection of their ability and also their approach to wanting to go on in the game," said Rast, who is in his 11th year as the head coach at Santa Clara. "Both train exceedingly hard and push themselves in their respective positions to be the best. That has allowed them the opportunity to be considered at the professional level by going to the MLS Combine."
In regards to the advice Rast will impart on both Bronco players, Rast said he will emphasize to both that they should show their strengths in matches at the Combine. "I encourage them to both play with confidence. They should take this as a real opportunity in so many ways as they can really both help their professional draft stock."
Hurtado was named to the All-Region First Team, was an All-American (third team) and is among 34 finalists for the 2012 Soccer News Net College Boot award, recognizing the men's college player of the year. Hurtado finished his career as one of the most accomplished goal scorers in Santa Clara history. He finished an outstanding collegiate career ranked No. 3 all-time at SCU in goals (33) and career points (86).
"This was my last year with the Bronco team and I wanted to give it everything I had," said Hurtado. "It's great to be recognized for all the hard work we have put in."
Jackson had a standout year as Santa Clara's goalkeeper. Jackson used his U-17 and U-20 US National Team experience to gain plenty of experience for his collegiate career. He tallied 14 shutouts in his career, including seven during his senior campaign. His 11-5-1 record and 6 saves helped him win West Coast Conference Goalkeeper of the Year this season.
"I am very excited - from previous experiences where people have made their name by competing for a spot, this is my best opportunity," said Jackson. "It is important I play well, especially for people who haven't seen me play at the collegiate level."
Jackson hasn't talked to anyone specifically who has gone over the years but Santa Clara, but was quick to point out many players have gone on the past and he plans to lean on them for advice and tips by reaching out to them. "I will reach out to them on how to prepare," said Jackson. "I also want to make sure I don't overwork so I am not able to perform when I get there."
"The Combine is the first chance to show what you will be like as a professional," said Rast. "For me, both have a great future in the game. We hope the Combine will allow them to showcase their talents."
Jackson closed by thanking the Bronco coaches who have helped him grow in so many ways on and off the field. "I am the player and the young man I am today because I have been given opportunities. There area number of players that will be in this combine and a number how won't be, that haven't continued; and I credit my Bronco coaches for helping me to keep the desire alive. I think a lot of people burn out and every year there are more expectations. Now I can try and go pursue a professional career because of the help they have given me. I thank my team and Santa Clara for giving me this opportunity. Go Broncos."