Jalon Brown, a senior All-American at Christopher Newport and Legacy Alum, has done just about everything you could possibly do as a collegiate athlete. So what’s next? During the weekend of mid January, Brown was invited to compete in front of professional scouts, at two different venues, in hopes to peruse his dream. His dream is to play professional soccer. Brown spoke to the Legacy staff about his experiences during his pursuit:
“The first combine I attended was held by the NPSL. The way it was set up was really cool from the player’s standpoint, I was definitely grateful for the amount of effort the coordinators and coaches put into making it as professional as possible. We were all in the hotel together, we had specific times to be places and were reprimanded accordingly for missing those times, and it was very organized. Another thing that played into the professionalism aspect was the training session we had. The first day we got there we had a training session at night, we were all given training uniforms and when we got to the field, we stepped off the bus and everything was laid out for us. The balls were neatly organized, the cones were set up, the water bottles were filled and placed on the perimeter of the field for each of us, and everything else was equally organized. The play was good that day, even though we just met each other. It was fast, smart, and there was a lot of communication, even though we barely knew each other’s names.
The InfoSports Combine was really a completely different beast altogether. The first day was really kind of a mash-up. With all the players trying to sign in and make sure they were in the right spot, with the right shirt on, with the right coach, etc. it made it a little hectic. However, at the very beginning, something that really got everyone excited was how the combine introduced all of the coaches. They brought everyone in and announced individually each coach and right then we knew that it was a serious event. There were coaches from the MLS, USL Pro, and the NASL, which are all professional leagues in the US so we were all pretty excited about it. The way it worked was each player was assigned a group number, and each group was assigned a coach. My group’s coach was the head coach of the USL Pro team the Charlotte Independence, a new affiliate team for the Colorado Rapids of the MLS. This was definitely exciting for me as I thought of how I could potentially move up the ranks of the US soccer ladder. The conditions of the fields were pretty rough to be honest. There wasn't very much grass on the field, and there were holes and divots everywhere. However, we were able to make due with what we had. The biggest critique of myself that I could give for the InfoSports combine was that I let the idea of playing professionally and wanting to impress the coaches overwhelm me at certain times and that resulted in some bad decisions in my play (I.E. dribbling the ball for too long or shooting from an ambitious spot). However, to my extreme delight, my coach spoke with me after the combine and said that I had impressed him enough over the course of the combine and he then proceeded to invite me to preseason with his USL Pro team in Charlotte!
All in all, I am extremely honored and grateful for my opportunity to be seen at both combines. Hopefully I will make a stand for myself when given my next chance.”
Good Luck Jalon, your city and club are proud of you!