Like almost every little kid who ever played a sport, Jay Alberts ’04, a midfielder on the men’s soccer team, dreamed of playing his sport professionally. While most kids must eventually give up that dream, Alberts will soon get a chance to fulfill it.
A panel composed mainly of Division I college and Major League Soccer, or MLS, coaches selected Alberts to attend the 2004 Adidas MLS Player Combine Jan. 11-13 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. He will join 53 other college soccer players who will showcase their talents in front of the general managers and coaches from all 10 MLS teams. The combine occurs right before the Jan. 16 SuperDraft in Charlotte.
The college players will be joined by a number of players in Project-40, a developmental program designed to provide American soccer players with an opportunity to improve their skills so that they may compete on an international level.
Yale head coach Brian Tompkins praised Alberts as a deserving pick.
“It’s a recognition of Jay’s talents as a soccer player,” Tompkins said. “He’s had a great career here at Yale and he’s proven he deserves a look to play at the next level.”
Alberts said he was excited to learn about his selection, the culmination of a month-long process.
“The anticipation had really built up,” Alberts said. “Growing up I always had the dream of playing professional soccer, and now it is coming closer to reality.”
Alberts, second in career assists and fifth in career points for the Bulldogs, earned many accolades during his time at Yale. The Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 1999, Alberts’ seven goals and seven assists for a total of 21 points is the most ever by a Yale freshman. He is only the fifth player in league history to earn first-team All-Ivy honors for four years. He was named to the All-New England team in both his freshman and junior years. He missed the entire 2001 season due to a case of mononucleosis, but redshirted so he could play four full seasons.
Tompkins believes Alberts has the ability to play in the MLS.
“His strengths are his quickness, speed and tenacity,” Tompkins said.
Alberts believes his prospects are “promising.”
“Now that the MLS coaches have narrowed me down as a possible pick, I have to play and prove myself among the best in college soccer,” Alberts said. “My goal is to go with a high level of fitness and play like I have learned over the past 18 years or so, and hopefully that will impress the MLS coaches and general managers.”
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