Griffiths, Paul Invited to MLS Combine
By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
Two of the Bulls' best have been invited to the Major League Soccer Combine that takes place Jan. 11-15 at Central Broward Regional Park in Fort Lauderdale. USF has had at least one player drafted in each of the past four years.
"To have two guys invited to the combine is great for the program, but I'm most pleased for the players," USF head coach George Kiefer said.
Griffiths, a defender, became a name USF fans became very familiar with while playing in 36 games the past two seasons. The Spanish Towne, Jamaica native scored four goals as a Bull and helped USF post 14 shutouts. Griffiths started his collegiate career with former USF star forward Dom Dwyer at Tyler Junior College in Texas, where he earned National Junior College Athletic Association First first-team honors.
"Brenton, in my opinion, has a huge upside as far as becoming a good pro. I think whichever team drafts him is going to get a gem," Kiefer said. "I think we played him out of position, just because we had to, but you can play him as an attacking right back or right-side center back. He's 6-foot-3 and he's still young where he's going to develop and mature into a man. I think he's going to be a very good pro for somebody."
Paul, a midfielder, will bring a ton of experience and durability to a pro team after playing in 53 games at USF. The senior led the Bulls with 12 points in his final collegiate season and totaled eight goals in three seasons. Paul gained World Cup experience by serving as the captain of the Trinidad and Tobago U-17 and U-20 national teams in 2007 and 2009.
"A lot of times you look at stats, where I think it's more the intangibles with Leston," Kiefer said. "He's very good at keeping a rhythm to a game, connecting the team and he's a very good two-way player, where he can get up and get down."
Kiefer noted that both Griffiths and Paul have been popular topics of discussion for pro scouts in preparation for the MLS SuperDraft that takes place Jan. 17 in Indianapolis.
"I've had more than half a dozen different teams calling me on both guys. I feel like the buzz about both of them is very good right now," Kiefer said.
Kiefer is very familiar with the draft process, especially after seeing at least one of his players get selected in each of the past four years.
Dwyer started the 2012 draft off with a bang for USF when he was selected with the 16th overall pick by Sporting Kansas City. Aubrey Perry followed in the second round by going to Columbus (26th overall) and keeper Chris Blais went to San Jose seven picks later.
The Bulls' 2011 draft was highlighted by Bernardo Anor, who was picked by Columbus in the third round (51st overall). USF was represented in the supplemental draft that year when Jeff Attinella went to Real Salt Lake and Javed Mohammed was selected by Colorado. Attinella recently signed a contract with Real Salt Lake and will be headed to camp in January.
Zak Boggs was chosen by New England with the 31st overall pick in the 2010 draft and Jordan Seabrook went to Colorado in the third round of the 2009 draft.The MLS SuperDraft consists of two rounds (38 overall selections) and a four-round supplemental draft will take place Jan. 23 via conference call.