ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico men’s soccer trio of Michael Calderon, Michael Kafari and Kyle Venter have been invited to the 2014 MLS Combine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in January. The three Lobos are part of a selected pool of only 50 collegiate soccer players to be invited to the premiere pre-draft showcase.
New Mexico represents three quarters of the invited players from Conference USA with Charlotte’s Tyler Gibson being the only other invitee from the conference. Calderon, Kafari and Venter give UNM 14 MLS Combine participants since 2005. It’s also only the second time in program history Coach Fishbein and the Lobos had had a trio of invitees to one combine. Brandon Moss, Jeff Rowland and Lance Watson were all invited to the 2006 MLS Combine after the team’s run all the way to the 2005 national championship match.
Senior Michael Kafari leaves the Lobo Soccer program as one of the all-time winningest Lobos with 58 wins in a New Mexico uniform. The midfielder was a Third Team NSCAA All-Region selection, and he was one of ten Lobos to receive All-Conference USA accolades this season. He was also a Second Team All-MPSF selection as junior in 2012. Kafari collected 6,514 minutes on the pitch in his career, which puts him in the top ten in program history for career minutes played.
Midfielder Michael Calderon was a First Team All-Region and All-Conference USA selection in his second and final season with New Mexico. The Costa Rican picked up National Team of the Week honors for three different weeks this season. He was also a member of the 2013 All-NCAA Tournament team. Calderon finished the season with six goals and five assists, which gives him ten goals and thirteen assists in his two-year Lobo career.
Kyle Venter heads off to the MLS Combine after one of the most decorated careers in the history of New Mexico soccer. Venter became the program’s first ever three-time All-American this season while also being the Conference USA Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year. The defender became the program’s leader in career minutes played with 7,859 minutes logged as a Lobo. Venter’s on-the-field accolades are rivaled by his academic awards. He’s taken home academic All-America, All-District and All-Conference honors in his Lobo career.
The 2013 Lobos are coming off a season for the ages as they advanced to the program’s second-ever NCAA College Cup. New Mexico became one of only three programs in the nation to advance to three-straight Sweet 16’s en route to their Final Four appearance in Philadelphia.
The MLS Combine is January 10-14 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with the 2014 MLS SuperDraft taking place on Thursday, January 16th in Philadelphia.