Seniors Eric Alexander and Ofori Sarkodie will not be in Bloomington when students begin classes Jan. 11. Instead, the two will join 62 other college seniors Jan. 8-12 to be evaluated at the 2010 adidas Major League Soccer Combine in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
“It’s always been a dream to be a professional,” Alexander said. “To think that hopefully I’m going to get paid to do something I love and play a game rather than have a regular job, it’s really exciting.”
Alexander and Sarkodie were informed of their selection via e-mail two days before Friday’s official public announcement. The selection, which they were told to keep confidential until Friday, came as no surprise to Sarkodie.
“I was confident with my performance throughout the year, and I thought I had done well enough,” the defender said. “I didn’t know much about the process, but I put myself out there, and I’m glad to have the opportunity.”
Sarkodie started 70 of his 83 matches played, and he earned first-team All Big Ten honors in 2007 and second-team honors in 2009.
Alexander, who served as a team captain with Sarkodie, finished his career at midfield with the Hoosiers with 12 goals and 13 assists. He earned a first-team All Big Ten spot in 2007, followed by consecutive second-team selections in 2008 and 2009.
The combine, which will be at Central Broward Regional Park, will include coaches and staff from each MLS club. Two days after the combine’s conclusion, the MLS Draft will be on Jan. 14 in Philadelphia.
Sarkodie will be there with his family.
“We’ve all stuck with each other through thick and thin,” Sarkodie said. “We’re a tight group. When the draft comes around, I know I’ll have all my family back home (in Ghana) and friends from Dayton and Indiana watching. That’s all I need.”
Alexander said that although he is excited, he is taking time to figure out what to expect when combine week comes.
“I’ve been talking to players who have been there in the past to try to figure out how to prepare for it – what to expect,” Alexander said. “I’m just working on that right now.”
While the future is still unknown for Alexander and Sarkodie, they said they are happy to have a familiar face to join them as they take steps to professional futures.
“I’m very excited for Eric, and I’m very happy for him,” Sarkodie said. “He lost himself a little bit and found himself again this season. He is one of the most talented midfielders I’ve seen. Having this opportunity is truly a blessing, and I’m happy to have it. We’ll see what we can do with it.”