Trialists look to impress as MLS training camps get underway

Trialists look to impress as MLS training camps get underway

MLS- Vancouver Whitecaps

Trialists look to impress as MLS training camps get underway

By VINCE MADURI

MLS teams began training camp Monday and several notable non-roster invitees began trying to impress their new teams and earn a contract.  Among the more notable names were former New England Revolution midfielder Blair Gavin, RSL forward Paulo Jr., Colorado Rapids midfielder Jamie Smith and FC Dallas forward Ruben Luna.

Blair Gavin is trying to break into the Seattle Sounders crowded midfield.  Gavin played two and a half seasons with Chivas USA scoring three goals before being traded to New England for Shalrie Joseph.  The Revs declined his option and the former US U-20 player became a free agent after not being selected in either Re-Entry Draft stage.

The Seattle midfield is pretty deep, so it may prove to be a difficult task for Gavin to make this team, but if he does impress, at only 24 years of age he can still develop into at least a solid rotational player.

Paulo Jr. scored four goals for Real Salt Lake before being released at the end of last year.  Vancouver selected Paulo Jr. in stage two of the Re-Entry Draft looking for an offensive spark.

The Whitecaps have also brought in Corey Hertzog, formerly of the New York Red Bulls, for a trial.  The 22 year old forward never scored a goal for New York in five appearances but scored nine goals in 17 appearances for the Wilmington Hammerheads last year on loan.

Both forwards looked like they had a very good shot at making the Whitecaps’ roster before Vancouver selected forwards with their first two selections of the SuperDraft.  Still though, with Kekuta Menneh most likely being a bit more of a project than an immediate impact player, the draftees may not have too much of an impact on Paulo Jr. and Hertzog.

In the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Rapids had declined the option of Jamie Smith following the season but have decided to invite the midfielder back as a non-roster invitee for training camp.  Smith will have the opportunity to earn back his spot on the roster alongside former FC Dallas forward Ruben Luna who has turned up following his release at the end of last season.  Luna scored two goals over 26 appearances for The Hoops but is also only 20 years old.

Here is a rundown of some of the trialists taking part in MLS training camps around the league:

Non-Roster Invitees By Team

COLORADO RAPIDS

Jamie Smith – Midfielder

Ruben Luna – Forward

Luke Vercollone – Defender/Midfielder

Joel Helmich – Goalkeeper

Jim Mauer – Goalkeeper

Clint Irwin – Goalkeeper

DC UNITED

Kyle Altman – Defender

Neven Markovic – Defender

Joseph Nane – Midfielder

Demitrius Omphroy – Defender/Midfielder

Diego Restrepo – Goalkeeper

Ryan Richter – Midfielder/Forward

Matt VanOekel – Goalkeeper

MONTREAL IMPACT

Ilcu Mircea – Forward

Nick Zimmerman – Forward

Zakaria Messoudi – Midfielder

Wadrille Lefevre – Midfielder

Maxim Tissot – Defender

Maxime Crepeau – Goalkeeper

SEATTLE SOUNDERS

Travis Bowen – Forward

Jose Cuevas – Forward

David Opoku – Forward

Manuel Asprilla – Midfielder

Philip Lund – Midfielder

Guy Essame – Midfielder

Jonas Rasmussen – Midfielder

Ross LaBauex – Midfielder

Marvin Angulo – Midfielder

Blair Gavin – Midfielder

Justin Davis – Defender

Cody Ellison – Defender

Isaish Schafer – Defender

Doug Herrick – Goalkeeper

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

Paulo Jr. – Forward

Corey Hertzog – Forward

Tom Heinemann – Forward

Ben Fisk – Midfielder/Forward

Crispin Olando – Midfielder

Dever Orgill – Forward

Jacob Lensky – Midfielder

Sean Melvin – Goalkeeper

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