MLS combine accepts Lee

His final season in the blue and gold didn't go exactly as he would have liked, but on Nov. 30 Chris Lee learned his soccer career isn't over just yet.

The senior forward, who ranks fourth in school history with 35 career goals, was selected to participate in the 2005 adidas Major League Soccer Player Combine from Jan. 8 to 11 in Carson, Calif. at the Home Depot Center.

He "found out last Tuesday from mlsnet.com" he'd been chosen, Lee said. "Coach Adlard helped nominate me, and I think he put in a good word for me."

Adlard's praise could have helped, but Lee's statistics speak for themselves. In 72 career matches he scored 35 goals and recorded 78 points.

Last season he was named first team all-Conference USA after scoring 14 goals, the second highest total in the league.

Despite an injury- and loss-riddled final season Lee had a team high of 10 goals and 23 points. Three of the goals were game winners, and he dished out three assists during the season. For his play he was named second team all-conference.

Now that the 6-11-1 season is behind him, Lee can focus on the combine.

"I'm going in with an open mind," Lee said. "I look forward to competing against the best and seeing where I stand."

Lee was one of 66 players and one of 18 forwards chosen for the event. He will be joined in Carson by Wisconsin-Milwaukee senior forward Antouman Jallow, according to the MLS Web site.

According to a league press release, the participants will be split between four teams and play doubleheaders on Jan. 9, 10 and 11. Players will be evaluated by all 12 MLS clubs and three days after the combine the league will hold its "SuperDraft" in Baltimore.

A year ago 42 of the 60 players drafted participated in the combine, according to a Marquette press release.

Besides the competition, Lee has one other challenge he must overcome: his conditioning. He hasn't worked out since the end of the season.

"I stopped training in order to get over the (knee) injury," Lee said. He added, "I need to get back in shape."

Lee is the second Golden Eagle selected to participate in the pre-draft camp, according to the university press release. Steve Lawrence participated in the combine following the 2002 season. He has spent the past two years playing for the Milwaukee Wave United in the A-League.

This article appeared in The Marquette Tribune on Dec. 7 2004.