Christian Barreiro Begins Play at MLS Combine

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After four years of masterful playmaking for Penn, midfielder Christian Barreiro has been invited to showcase his talents in front of coaching and technical staffs from the 19 member organizations in Major League Soccer. Barreiro's name was one of 52 on a list of NCAA Division I college seniors released by the MLS on Wednesday who have been invited to the 2012 adidas MLS Player Combine in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. to be held Jan. 6-10 leading up to the 2012 MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 12.

Barreiro is playing for Team Prime in the Combine, alongside fellow Ivy Leaguer Antoine Hoppenot of Princeton and players from 2011 NCAA champ North Carolina and 2010 champ Akron.

"This is a great opportunity for Christian and we are thrilled for him," Penn head coach Rudy Fuller said. "He has arguably been the best attacking player in the Ivy League these past two years and one of the best nationwide. He can impact the game in so many different ways off the dribble, a pass, or a set piece. He is a constant threat to set up a goal or score one himself."

Barreiro earned his second first-team All-Ivy nod this fall after setting career highs in goals (7) and points (21) - leading Penn in both categories. One of the most prolific playmakers in recent history, Barreiro led the Ivy League in assists for the second season in a row with seven helpers. His proclivity for passing helped the Baltimore, Md. native finish with 58 career points - fourth most by a Penn player since 1969. Not just a passer, Barreiro took 64 shots, the most in the Ivy League, connecting twice on penalty kicks to finish his career a perfect 5-for-5 on PKs.

In the summer of 2011, Barreiro played for Reading United A.C., a member of the USL Premier Development League and an affiliate of the MLS' Philadelphia Union - a team Reading played to a 1-1 draw in an exhibition match over the summer. While playing for the United, Barreiro finished with four goals and a team-high seven assists in 15 matches.

"As good as he is technically, it is his work ethic, competitiveness, and winning mentality that has allowed him to progress as a player," Fuller continued. "There are not many truly creative, attacking players that have the same work rate as Christian. I believe that he has bright future ahead of him in the professional game."

The MLS has invited 52 Division I seniors from 31 programs to the combine at Central Brower Regional Park, with Barreiro one of three Ivy League student-athletes invited (Antoine Hoppenot - Princeton, Lucky Mkosana - Dartmouth). Between now and January, the MLS will add approximately 14 more players from Generation adidas, NCAA Division II and III, NAIA and international programs.

Barreiro is the first Quaker invited to the MLS Player Combine since Alex Grendi was invited in 2009 and just the second Penn product to receive an invite. Grendi would perform well enough at the MLS Player Combine to be drafted by the Columbus Crew in the third round (45th overall) in '09, joining goalkeepers Matt Haeffner C'02 (sixth round; 2002 SuperDraft) and Daniel Cepero (2007 Supplemental Draft) as Quakers selected by MLS clubs.