Bates College senior John Murphy performed well at the InfoSport Pro Combine in Bradenton, Fla., last week. Murphy finished the week by earning the chance to compete against the USA Under-17 national team in front of more than 20 professional team scouts from Major League Soccer (MLS), USL PRO and NASL.
MLS team Seattle Sounders FC Assistant Coach Ezra Hendrickson was Murphy's coach throughout the week, and selected the left winger to compete against the USA. With over 200 players at the combine from a range of backgrounds including PDL and Division I colleges, it was a good sign for Murphy that he was among the elite few to make the USA game.
"The competition was the most intense I have ever been exposed to," said Murphy. "I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to play against and with some of the best players in the country as well as getting exposed to the highest level of coaching from three different pro leagues in the United States."
Murphy, who currently plays on the Bates men's basketball team, played an important role for Bobcat men's soccer last fall as the team posted an improved 4-8-2 mark. The left winger scored eight goals and recorded five assists, ranking second in NESCAC in both categories. Murphy was also second in NESCAC for points per game, and led the conference in shots on goal. His performance earned him All-NESCAC honors for the second straight year. The Bobcat midfielder was also voted into the NEISL All-Star game played at Harvard University by coaches throughout the region.
Murphy already has elite PDL experience with the Portland Phoenix, and will now wait to see if he caught the eye of a professional team while in Florida. The Bobcat winger hopes to have the chance to go into camp with a team somewhere.
"I really appreciate the support from [Bates head coach] Stewart Flaherty, my teammates, and the athletic department as a whole as I went about this process," Murphy said. "It was an incredible experience, and I am excited to see if anything comes of it in the following weeks after my player profile is put up online where pro scouts and agents can see how I was evaluated during the combine."
Flaherty expressed his pride in seeing a Bobcat pursue his dreams on the field. "All of us here at Bates are thrilled to see Johnny succeeding at such a high level," said Flaherty. "The atmosphere here at Bates is designed to help kids find their passion and pursue it to the fullest. John pours his time and energy into his economics major, and I am also delighted to see him pursue his soccer dreams to the best of his ability."