On Sunday, former Bulls Men’s Soccer player Russell Cicerone will be in Carson, California to participate in the annual adidas Major League Soccer Player Combine. Cicerone is the first UB player to be invited to event in its history. So let’s give a rundown of what’s in store for Cicerone and how you can follow along.
For those unfamiliar with the combine, what’s really cool about it is that the MLS divides the 53 participants into four teams and each team will play three matches throughout the week. Cicerone has been put on Team Copa’s roster. We’re going to keep this post pinned near the top of the site throughout the week so that you can follow along since all of the matches are streamed.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 8, 6:00PM ET
Team Copa vs. Team Tango
Cicerone saw time in the first half before being removed from the lineup in the second. Copa started the game in a 4-3-3 lineup but the midfield was instantly demolished, forcing Russell into a 4-5-1 setting as a midfielder.
Russell showed a lot of good balance and made smart decisions. His one on one play was great and I don’t remember seeing any bad passes that came from him. Decent start to the combine and let’s hope that Copa can regroup and give Russell some more attacking chances on Tuesday.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 4:15PM ET
Team Chaos vs. Team Copa
THURSDAY JANUARY 12, 1:00PM ET
Team Copa vs. Team Control
What happens after the combine?
The first and second rounds of the MLS SuperDraft will take place on Friday, January 13 at 3:00PM ET. We’ll have a separate post for that with a stream and some other tidbits when the time comes but if everything goes right, we’ll know where Russell Cicerone’s future lies.
Should Cicerone’s draft stock fall during the combine, the third and fourth rounds will take place on Tuesday, January 17 at a to be determined time.
It’s still an uphill battle from there as only about half of the MLS SuperDraft picks are going to make it to an MLS roster, so Cicerone will still have to prove himself from there.
What the experts are saying
The MLS SuperDraft is one of the hardest professional sports drafts to gauge because College Soccer is not in the national spotlight that Football and Basketball gets.
Doyle has Cicerone being drafted in the first round as the fifteenth overall pick by the Colorado Rapids. The Rapids made it to the conference finals in the MLS Cup Playoffs last year.
WINGER/FORWARD - BUFFALO
Cicerone is probably the guy who has the most to gain and the most to lose with the physical testing at the Combine. It's not about straight-ahead speed with him, but rather his balance and agility -- the ability to get out of tight spaces and make the daylight you find actually matter.
I'm guessing he does something close to "good enough," and then I'm guessing he starts getting some buzz as a Tommy McNamara type. He's not going to wow anybody, but as one GM said to me "he's a soccer player. He's going to figure it out."
The Rapids are currently thin on the flanks, so I think this is a pretty easy pick for them to make.
That’s the kindest projection for Cicerone. SBISoccer.com has Cicerone being drafted in the second round as the 33rd overall pick by Philadelphia Union and draftutopia.com has the Forward slipping all the way to the third round, 59th overall by FC Dallas.