Nikola Katic (Western Illinois University), Daniel Foerster (University of Central Arkansas) Daniel Knop (University of Memphis), Patrick Gritz (Western Illinois University) and Eishun Yoshida (Illinois Central College) will be participating in this years combine showcasing there talents to USL 1, USL 2 and MLS coaches and scouts.
The Demize will be sending five players to the 2008 USL Men’s Player Showcase hosted by the Charleston Battery of the USL First Division. Nikola Katic (Western Illinois University), Daniel Foerster (University of Central Arkansas) Daniel Knop (University of Memphis), Patrick Gritz (Western Illinois University) and Eishun Yoshida (Illinois Central College) will be participating in this years combine where they will play a series of exhibition matches, showcasing there talents to USL 1, USL 2 and MLS coaches and scouts. The combine will be held December 14th thru the 16th in Charleston, South Carolina at Blackbaud Stadium.
Nikola Katic, a native of Croatia, is a two year starter and captain at Western Illinois University. Katic helped Chicago Fire Premiere PDL team in their playoff run for the cup in the 2007 PDL season and was a top defender for the Demize in 2008. Daniel Foerster played 15 of 16 games for the Demize and was leading point getter for the team. Foerster also played four years of collegiate soccer at the University of Central Arkansas. Daniel Knop, an Australian native, attended the University of Memphis before coming to the Demize. After the 2008 PDL season, Knop went to play in the Croatian Third Division where he has been starting every match and doing very well. Patrick Gritz also attends Western Illinois University and has played in the PDL with the Palm Beach Pumas. Gritz played in the midfield for the Demize showing his presence with his pin point distribution and hard nosed tackles. Eishun (ACE) Yoshida, a native of Japan, came to the Demize from Avila University where he was taking English Speaking Language (ESL) coureses to become eligilble for the 2009 season. Ace played well for the Demize at right back until he incurred an injury in a game aginst the KC Brass keeping him out for a majority of the season. Ace is now at Illinois Central College in Perioa, IL.
The USL Men’s Player Showcase is a three-day event and is comprised of multiple 70-minute matches for 90 elite prospects to display their abilities to a number of top clubs around the world. In 2007 USL Men’s Player Showcase drew more than 300 applicants from an elite pool of collegiate and international talent. With numerous players landing professional contracts in Major League Soccer, the USL First Division, the USL Second Division and with international clubs, the USL Men’s Player Showcase has become a critical component of the PDL and the player development structure within USL. As with previous showcase events, the majority of selected players are drawn from USL’s Premier Development League. “As expected in 2007, the Charleston Battery displayed an overwhelming level of professionalism in hosting the USL Men’s Player Showcase,” said USL Executive Vice President and COO Tim Holt. “Through their run to the U.S. Open Cup Final this season, the Battery displayed their on-field ability. Off the field, Charleston possesses world class facilities and tremendous experience in hosting successful events.”
The 2008 USL Men’s Player Showcase presented by Umbro will bring in the top 90 players in North America that competed amongst the 67 PDL teams from the 2008 season. As the top amateur league in North America, the Premier Development League is committed to providing its players with every opportunity to excel at the professional level. "Each year the Demize have the opportunity to send PDL players to the combine that we feel have the ability to play at the professional level and it is a great honor for the Demize to be sending five of our players to USL Combine, " said General Manager, Chris Hanlon. "Omar Shoucair represented the Demize at the 2007 USL Men’s Player Showcase where he was recruited by the USL 1 Carolina Railhawks to compete for a roster spot. Eddie Conde, another member of the 2007 roster, participated in the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL 2) invitational combine."
Also, attending the combine are the Head Coach of the Demize, Armen Tonianse, and General Manager Chris Hanlon. Tonianse and Hanlon will be representing the Demize and the USL as Staff coaches for this years combine. "Both Chris and I are excited to be attending this years event," mentioned Tonianse. "We have been on the USL coaching staff and attending the USL combine since its inception in 2006 and each years talent pool gets better. I believe this years event will highlight why the PDL exists and the value it has to those players who aspire to play professionally."
For more information about the 2008 USL Men’s Player Showcase presented by Umbro, please visit the USL Men’s Player Showcase information page at http://www.uslsoccer.com/Showcase/index_E.html