Ocean City trio invited to MLS Combine
McLaws, Lacroix and Miller look to shine in Fort Lauderdale this weekend

Tuesday, January 6, 2014

Club Captain, Shawn McLaws

Ocean City, NJ – When the MLS Combine kicks-off on Thursday, January 8th Ocean City captain Shawn McLaws will be ready. “You just want to get there and play already,” stated McLaws in a recent interview with the Club that he captained at the shore this past summer. “[The MLS Combine] is an amazing opportunity to hopefully set yourself up for a career playing the game you love,” the defender continued.

The Edmond, Oklahoma native became just the seventh Coastal Carolina Chanticleer in school history to earn All-American honors for his play in 2014. As a two-time Big South Defensive Player of the Year recipient and Ocean City Nor’easter veteran, McLaws hopes his ability to both spark an attack in the blink of an eye offensively and thwart goal-scoring opportunities with his back to goal shines through to MLS teams. “I try to approach the game and do what the game asks of me. What I want [MLS] teams to see is that I am a very good two-way player and I can get up and down the field.”

"Duke" against Ray Gaddis & Keon Daniel
of the Philadelphia Union

Midfield/Striker hybrid Markhus “Duke” Lacroix, captained the University of Pennsylvania men’s soccer team to another successful season in 2014, earning All-Ivy honors for his fourth straight year, becoming only the third Penn player to do so. Duke’s seven goals and six assists this season increased his career numbers to 25 goals and 15 assists, good for a total of 65 points. Duke is looking forward to showcasing his talent among the best competition that US collegiate soccer has to offer. “I would like my one-v-one ability and athletic and technical ability to shine through to MLS clubs. It is truly an honor to be recognized as one of the players selected for the trip.”

As a Nor’easter, Lacroix used his versatility and unmatched speed to find the back of the net four times and contribute four assists in 21 matches over the course of the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Division Championship-winning season and as a member of the 2013 PDL Eastern Conference Championship-winning squad.

Tyler Miller in action for Northwestern

Tyler Miller, a first-team All-Big-Ten selection as a Northwestern University freshman in 2011, played in three matches for The Storm during the summer after his freshman season, totaling 8 saves in his Nor’easter career. The star goalkeeper, currently ranked as a TopDrawerSoccer.com top-20 recruit, went on to earn a second first-team All-Big-Ten nod in 2012 and the Big-Ten Goalkeeper of the Year award in 2014.

Miller is “humbled to be a part of…55-65 of the top MLS prospects in college,” but will not be making the journey to Fort Lauderdale this weekend. He is currently in Germany showcasing his talent for the opportunity to begin his professional career abroad. Miller cites his keen work ethic as a facet of his game that he hopes catches the eye of pro clubs. “Of all my qualities, I would like my work ethic to shine through the most, and prove to [German professional teams] that I will work as hard as I can to become the best player I am capable of becoming.”

McLaws with Owner/President, Giancarlo
"El Presidente" Granese and Technical
Director, Alfonso Torino

Miller, Lacroix and McLaws credit their time with Ocean City as a major building block on their journey to the professional ranks. For Miller, playing for the Nor’easters, “was a great opportunity to get some good training with good players, and continue to progress in my development,” and for  Lacroix, “The high intense level the Nor’easters were able to offer in training and in games provided great preparation for [opportunities like this].” Ocean City provided the tangible tools and a family-like atmosphere that Shawn McLaws was looking for. According to the skipper, “I think that all starts with El Prez [Club President Giancarlo Granese]. He takes care of everyone from top to bottom and makes you feel at home. You can't help but want to go out and play your best for the guy every time the whistle blows. So it's a perfect place to prepare yourself for the future.” Duke echoed, “I truly appreciate the relationship I was able to develop with Mr. Granese and the staff.”

The 2015 Major League Soccer Combine will run from January 8-13 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.