CCU’s Portillo joins Ribiero with MLS Combine invite

ccusoc-portilloStandout Coastal Carolina midfielder Justin Portillo has been extended an invitation to the 2014 MLS Combine, Major League Soccer announced Wednesday.

Portillo will join fellow Chanticleer midfielder Pedro Ribeiro along with 70 of the best soccer players in the nation at the professional scouting combine. Portillo is one of 15 college seniors added to the MLS Combine following the league’s initial list of 50 player invites on Dec. 12.

Eight MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalists and five Men’s College Cup participants are among the players that will take the field in Fort Lauderdale from January 10-14. All invited players will be eligible for selection in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas that will take place on January 16 in Philadelphia.

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. 10, 12 and 14. Each match is closely monitored by technical staff from all 19 MLS clubs.

Portillo becomes the seventh 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) and Ribeiro (2014). Portillo and Ribeiro are the only Big South Conference student-athletes to receive the invitation this season.

Portillo’s senior season was cut short in the semifinal round of the Big South Tournament as he sustained a shoulder injury. However, despite missing Coastal’s final four contests of the campaign, Portillo finished the season ranked 15th in the NCAA with nine assists and 26th in assists per game (0.43). He directed the Chanticleer attack to a No. 2 final NCAA ranking in goals scored (47) and No. 3 rankings in assists (44) and total points (138).

The New Orleans, La., native concluded his Coastal Carolina career as the Chanticleers’ all-time leader in matches played with 89 and matches started with 87. He ranks also sixth in the CCU record book with 29 assists. He led Coastal Carolina to a 69-20-4 overall record, four NCAA Tournament appearances, five NCAA Tournament wins, three Big South regular season championships and two Big South tournament championships.

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