CSUN stars ready to take next step

first_img They’ll be among 70 draft-eligible players showing MLS coaching staffs what they can do during the three-day, six-game combine. The MLS SuperDraft will be held next Friday in Philadelphia. “Willie and Daniel will always have a special place here at Cal State Northridge,” Matadors coach Terry Davila said. “They’re going to be the guys everyone else is compared to for years to come.” They’ve been anointed as two of the best to ever lace up cleats, put on shinguards and play soccer at Cal State Northridge. Now we’ll found out just how good Willie Sims and Daniel Paladini are as they embark on professional careers at Major League Soccer’s annual combine beginning today at the Home Depot Center in Carson. Three previous CSUN players have been selected in MLS drafts, although none have yet become regulars in the league. Goalkeeper Joe Barton was drafted by the Galaxy in 2003, defender Edwin Miranda by Dallas in 2004 and Benjamin Benditson by the Galaxy in last year’s supplemental draft. Sims has a guaranteed three-year MLS contract after signing with the Generation adidas program, which provides top underclassmen the opportunity to develop while not counting them against a team’s roster size or salary cap. Paladini, on the other hand, has no such assurances. “I’m very honored just to be invited to the combine,” Paladini said. “It’s almost a dream come true. It hasn’t happened yet, though. I have to play well. I’m going to keep pursuing my dream until I get the hint I’m not going to play anymore.” Sean Ceglinsky, (818) 713-3607 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita CSUN emerged as a legitimate NCAA contender during Sims’ and Paladini’s tenures, winning two of the past three Big West Conference titles and reaching the playoffs four consecutive seasons. Their performances at the combine could have much to say about when, or whether, they are drafted and given the opportunity to play in the country’s top soccer league, for the likes of MLS champion Galaxy or Chivas USA, or in the second-tier USL Division I. “I’m anxious to play against the best,” said the Guatamala-born Sims, who moved to the United States when he was 6. “This is something I’ve wanted forever. It’s my ultimate goal. I’m going to go (all) out. You have to bring your ‘A’ game.” Sims, a Reseda High graduate who will turn 22 two days before the SuperDraft, was the Big West Co-Offensive Player of the Year as a freshman and sophomore, scoring 27 goals his first two seasons, then was a first-team All-American last fall, when he scored eight goals in the first eight games before he was sidelined with a knee injury. Paladini, a playmaker from St. Francis of La Canada Flintridge, enjoyed a breakout senior season with the Matadors, receiving Big West Midfielder of the Year honors. last_img read more