By Miles Macdonald

Cayle Lackten, a Madonna University senior, was invited to attend the annual pro combine hosted by the United Soccer League (USL) at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. earlier this year.

The USL is one of the largest organizations for elite-level developmental soccer leagues for both men and women in North America. The USL aims to assist in the growth of men’s and women’s soccer throughout North America and the Caribbean.

The USL begins training soccer players from the youth lever with the Super-Y league, Super -20 League and NGS, for players under 14 years of age. The USL also holds both indoor and outdoor leagues for all ages and skill levels.

The combine hosted 102 soccer players from North America and overseas. Now in its seventh year, the combine has helped 150 players get contracts to play professional soccer with USL, Major League Soccer (MLS) and other international teams. The professional coaches, who will be mentoring the teams, will range from MLS assistant coaches and head coaches from the Professional Development League (PDL).

Before playing soccer for Madonna, Lackten played in the PDL, which is in company of a number of different leagues underneath the USL umbrella. The PDL is a premier developmental league for male soccer players in North America. The PDL has 65 teams sorted into four conferences within the United Stated and Canada.

“The combine was spread over three days, and on the first day, we were separated into six teams. After we were done selecting teams, we had an hour-long training session with our team and coaches,” said Lackten, a Pre-Law senior, who attended West Mount Secondary School in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

“I had already known my coach from playing in the PDL. At night, we meet altogether as a group for a meeting about safety in soccer and wearing the right equipment during games.”

“After our training session, we were put through a fitness test, in front of scouts, representing teams from Mexico, the Caribbean, Argentina, Nigeria and USL Pro teams. On the second and third day, we played games against other teams, again in front of the scouts.”

During his senior year at Madonna, Lackten achieved a career-best five assists. He also was a part of two teams from Madonna that advanced to the NAIA National Championships.

“If soccer doesn’t pan out, I plan on getting into international law, and hopefully working as a diplomat for the United Nations,” said Lackten, about his plans after graduation.

“Cayle has a tremendous passion for Madonna University and worked hard to make this program successful. One of the toughest players I know, he often played through injury and did everything that was asked of him,” said Eric Scott, former Madonna University head soccer coach, who resigned Feb. 8 to take the head coaching position for the women’s soccer team at Albion College.

As of when this article was written, Lackten has not heard from any team.



Madonna soccer player attends pro combine