Men's Soccer Assistant organizes successful Pro Soccer Combine
The 2011 event has set the standard for future events for soccer development in talent exposure.
Sports Information Department BC
February 1, 2012
Bluefield College Athletics
Sports Information Department
Orange Beach, Alabama-
70 players from more than 20 states and 15 countries joined collegiate and professional coaches last month for the first-ever 2011 Tourbeau College Soccer Showcase in Orange Beach, Alabama.
The pro combine was designed and started by Bluefield's Assistant Men's Soccer Coach, Chase Neidig, who owns and operates a sports development company, Tourbeau Sports Group.
The event was a first of its kind- an event to bring exposure and opportunities to the top players in the NAIA and NCAA. Through a strict application process, players were then approved and selected by a staff of soccer professionals who decided on the player pool for the week-long event.
The week included two days of training, classroom seminars which included video Skype interviews with various current professional players and panel discussions by the combine staff, 7v7 matches, a local Kids soccer clinic and the 11v11 matches for the final two days of the event.
The idea of the event was in the works well before Neidig was hired on as a coach at Bluefield College in early 2011, but the connections with the NAIA, collegiate soccer and the professional soccer industry was one of the strong cases for his hiring into a rejunevated program led by Head Coach Pete Dryer in 2010.
In fact, the Tourbeau Showcase included players from Bluefield's current conference (Applachian Athletic Conference) and the future conference BC will head into in 2012, the Mid-South Conference.
"One of my many goals when coming to Bluefield was to attract players of the highest quality who are looking for quality education, but also who are looking for a platform and connection to move onto the next level professionally", Neidig added. "I have been very fortunate to gain some very good quality contacts at the 'next' level, and we are already giving our players a taste of this opportunity as early as this season."
The Showcase was extremely successful in its first 'go-around'. Currently, Neidig proclaims around 15 players are either training in pre-season camps, closed trials or are expected to sign professional or semi-professional contracts for the 2012 season. This ranges from the MLS, NASL, USL-PRO to the USL-PDL. There are some very talened players in the NAIA and the NCAA 'lower-divisions' outside the Division I level. Players from Lindsey Wilson, Bethel, Rio Grande, Hastings, Judson, Biola, Columbia, Belhaven, Walsh, Notre Dame and several others are some of the many who have gained great exposure from the event.
"We had a great collection of NAIA coaches who helped us in the managing and coaching of the event in its first year", said Neidig.
Moving forward, the showcase combine will look to expand to younger players as well. This year, only upperclassmen were allowed to participate in the pro combine in order to find a spot on a 2012 pro roster. In 2012 and beyond, the vision is to allow all college players to attend. The idea is to maximize the exposure of the most talented collegiate players EARLY, and also the players who will never get the chance to get seen properly for them to develop properly in a professional environment in the off-season.
Freshman and Sophomores will benefit greatly from next year's event. "We need clubs to be notified of the best talent as soon as possible", said Neidig. The goal is to get more PDL (Premier Development League) clubs and MLS clubs (who are looking for reserve players) to the event. The players being able to get into these 'systems' earlier in their career will only help them as they pursue their life-long dreams.
Nonetheless, this vision is now apart of the overall program's philosophy at Bluefield College and men's soccer. "We have 4-5 players who will be getting plugged into PDL clubs for the summertime", said head coach Peter Dryer. "This is key to their development as a player and as a young men. When they return for pre-season in the Fall, they will be primed and ready to go right away."
For more information on the pro combine, click here.