Coastal’s Bennett receives invitation to MLS Combine

Coastal Carolina forward Ashton Bennett is one of 54 seniors to receive an invitation to attend the upcoming 2013 adidas MLS Player Combine, announced Tuesday by Major League Soccer.

Bennett was selected to attend the combine by a committee of NCAA Division I coaches from every conference, as well as MLS representatives.  Generation adidas signings, non-collegiate players, and additional college seniors will be announced in the coming weeks.

Two MAC Hermann Trophy Finalists, 15 All-Americans and eight Men’s College Cup participants will join Bennett on the field in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., from January 11-15.  All invited players will be eligible for selection in 2013 SuperDraft presented by adidas which will take place on January 17 in Indianapolis, Ind., at Noon 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 January 11, 13 and 15.  Each match is closely monitored by technical staff from all 19 MLS clubs.

The Clarendon, Jamaica, native becomes only the second Chanticleer to receive an invitation to the prestigious event, joining former standout and current assistant coach Kyle Russell. Moreover, Bennett is the only Big South Conference student-athlete to receive the invitation this season and the sixth overall.

Bennett racked up a plethora of national awards this season after leading the Chanticleers to a program record-tying 20-win season that included Coastal’s second all-time NCAA Tournament Round of 16 appearance. The speedy striker, who finished the season ranked sixth in the NCAA with 16 goals, was recently named a NSCAA First Team All-American, becoming Coastal’s only two-time NSCAA First Team All-American. In addition, Bennett earned All-American honors from College Soccer News and the Senior CLASS Award Committee, while being tabbed to the Team of the Year by Top Drawer Soccer.

This season Bennett became just the third two-time Big South Player of the Year as he garnered the league’s Attacking Player of the Year honor. He was also tabbed to the NSCAA All-South Atlantic Region first team, Big South Conference first team and Big South All-Tournament team.

Bennett finished his Coastal Carolina career ranked sixth all-time with 39 goals, tied for seventh with 94 points (39g, 16a) and ninth with 184 shot attempts despite only playing 47 games in a Chanticleer uniform. He led Coastal to a 38-7-2 overall record, two NCAA Tournament appearances, three NCAA Tournament wins and a pair of Big South regular season championships with a perfect 19-0 record (9-0 in 2011 and 10-0 in 2012) in his two seasons in Conway. Moreover, he became only the second Chanticleer to be named a MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist, earning the nod in both 2011 and 2012.

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