Coastal’s Garbanzo to join McLaws at MLS Combine

ccusoc-garbanzogreenStandout Coastal Carolina forward Ricky Garbanzo has been extended an invitation to the 2015 MLS Combine, Major League Soccer announced Wednesday. Garbanzo will join fellow Chanticleer Shawn McLaws, a defender, along with 64 of the best soccer players in the nation at the professional scouting combine.

Garbanzo, who is rated as the 36th-best prospect by TopDrawerSoccer.com, is one of nine college seniors added to the MLS Combine following the league’s initial list of 55 player invites on Dec. 11.

Six MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalists and seven Men’s College Cup participants are among the players that will take the field in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., from Jan. 8-13. All invited players will be eligible for selection in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas that will take place on Thurs, Jan. 15 in Philadelphia (12 p.m. ET).

The invited players will be divided into four separate teams that are led by prominent collegiate coaches and select youth coaches. Matches will be played as doubleheaders on Jan. 9, 11 and 13. Each match is closely monitored by technical staff from all 19 MLS clubs.

Garbanzo becomes the ninth Chanticleer to receive an invitation to the prestigious event, joining current assistant coach Kyle Russell (2009) along with Joseph Ngwenya (2004), Mamba Chisoni (2005), Boyzz Khumalo (2005), Ashton Bennett (2013) Pedro Ribeiro (2014), Justin Portillo (2014) and McLaws (2015). Garbanzo and McLaws are the only Big South Conference student-athlete to receive the invitation this season. Furthermore, with senior duo’s selection to the Combine marks the second consecutive season that a pair of Chanticleers have been invited to the scouting event.

Garbanzo, a senior from Rock Hill, S.C., was named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List entering the 2014 campaign. Garbanzo, who was named the Big South Attacking Player of the Year, led Coastal and ranked fourth in the Big South with eight goals this season. In addition, the NSCAA All-South Region selection ranked 38th in Division I with 22 total points and 88th averaging 0.96 points per game. Garbanzo earned College Soccer News National Team of the Week and Big South Attacking Player of the Week honors on Sept. 2 after providing a pair of assists and scoring the game-winner to lead Coastal past then-No. 8 UConn. The crafty forward also dished out six assists on the season.

Garbanzo closed his collegiate career with a 73-18-3 record along with three Big South regular season and two tournament championships. He also helped direct the Chanticleers to the NCAA Tournament in each of his four seasons in Conway. He finished with a 6-4-0 NCAA Tournament record, including a back-to-back of Round of 16 appearances in 2012 and 2013.

Garbanzo is the all-time leader in matches played in Coastal Carolina and Big South Conference history with 94 appearances. Moreover, the forward is tied for fifth on the CCU all-time list with 40 career goals and sixth with 99 total points (40 goals/19 assists). Garbanzo, who graduated from Coastal in December, ranks as the Big South’s all-time leader with 18 game-winning goals.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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