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How to fix the MLS Combine thing

Way better ideas than Caleb Stanko would have

MLS: Toronto FC at FC Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

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Earlier this week, 40 collegiate soccer players vying to join the worlds greatest league, The Major League Soccer, attended the first ever Adidas MLS College Showcase. Essentially a three day scouting combine, it’s likely that no one really learned anything and that like two of these players will ever play a minute outside of the USL and that the draft they’re being scouted for won’t even exist next year.

That being said, we see no reason why have to get rid of this event. That being said, we see plenty of reasons to make this event wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy more interesting. And to put that way more interesting event on TV. And profit. Spiritually and monetarily.

Here are our Clear & Obvious suggestions for improving the adidas MLS College Showcase.

Agility Challenge

You want to judge a player’s ability to change direction? To stop and start on a dime? To show how explosive they can be? Well then here’s what you do.

You take the player and put sixty seconds on the clock. You tell them that they’re going to have to run from station to station as fast as possible. But this isn’t your normal shuttle run. As they run from station to station a person is sitting high above them with one thing in mind: Hitting them with a tennis ball fired out of a cannon.

If the players can get through the assault of tennis balls rapidly coming their way and reach the final station in sixty seconds, it’s pretty obvious they’re quick enough to at least chase down Caleb Stanko, right?

Balance Challenge

It’s hard to explain how important balance is in soccer. You don’t know unless you know, you know? But I can firmly say that an ability to stand upright even in the most trying of circumstances is massive.

So here’s how we test that.

We put the players on pedestals high above a swimming pool. Then we get a bodybuilder. Just an absolutely massive human. And we put that massive human on top of another pedestal in close proximity to a participant in the combine. We then give both of them what amounts to giant cue tips and see who can take that giant cue tip and knock the bodybuilder off of the pedestal.

It stands to reason that if you could knock a bodybuilder off a pedestal without getting knocked off yourself, then you must have incredible balance. Who’s gonna knock you over at that point? Caleb Stanko? Lol.

Mentality Challenge

One bodybuilder? Please, this time we’re putting three bodybuilders out there. These players are going to shaking in their (soccer) boots. The twist? We put three players out there as well. We give them an entire crate of soccer balls. We say go. We watch as those three players try to take those balls out of the crate, get around the three body builders, and put the balls into another crate on another side.

You have to have brains to do this. You have to show extreme determination and resolve to face the genetic freaks in front of you. You have to know when to let those genetic freaks take down the other man so you can sneak past them without getting thrown into the third row of enthusiastic spectators. This is high-stress, high-intensity drill work the likes of which Caleb Stanko would undoubtedly crumble under like a tiny, pathetic flower.

Grip Strength Challenge

What’s the second most important skill in soccer besides balance? Grip strength.

You just wouldn’t understand if you hadn’t played the game.

To test this crucial attribute, we’ll put the players in front of climbing wall, three at a time. And then they race up the wall. First to the top wins. That’s it. No catch. No catch at all.






Final Challenge

Where other combines fail is they never combine each event into one big event so we can see how the player can put their skills together. So here’s what we’ll do.

We’ll pick the two players who have done the best in our previous events and have them run through a massive obstacle course. Whoever finishes first is the winner of the combine. The obstacle course will feature:

  • An inclined ramp that the contestants climb while pushing giant medicine balls, which have to be placed in holders at the top
  • A pair of pits to cross:
  • First pit crossed with a balance beam, with six bodybuilders swinging smaller medicine balls at the contenders to impede progress
  • Second pit crossed using commando line ropes
  • The “swing for life”, a rope swing over a small wall
  • A set of cylindrical “cones” which had to be weaved through
  • A choice of two corridors for each contender, with a paper door at each end; one door was clear while a bodybuilder with a blocking pad stood at the other

It’s perfect right?

Actually, I’m not even sure we need to do this with soccer players. We could probably just throw it on TV by itself and be fine. Just put somewhat athletic people against the bodybuilders instead of soccer players. But make the somewhat athletic people sound way cooler. And the bodybuilders too.

We’ll call the contestants “Ninjas” and the bodybuilders “Warriors.” The show will take place in America.

“American Ninjas Warriors” will be a hit. You’re welcome MLS.

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