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    By: Sean Grybos

    Major League Soccer just released the initial list of invitees for the 2011 player combine. Roughly 50 seniors make the trip each year to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the event. Several underclassmen – including the highly sought after Generation Adidas players – also attend.

    Curtis Ushedo, a senior at the University of Alabama –Birmingham, was pleased and excited when he heard the he was invited.

    [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] “I think anytime someone gets an opportunity to play with the best players and be showcased as a possible prospect, it's so surreal because you dream about it and work so hard to get there and all of a sudden the opportunity is in your lap,” Ushedo said.

    The UAB Blazers, who play in the competitive Conference USA, ended the season 10-7-1. The Mississauga, Ontario native started in all 18 games.

    “I thought we battled hard in every game and for the most part were the dominant team, but having some late game mental lapses and a couple untimely injuries late in the season definitely affected the final outcome,” the central defender said.

    The leader of UAB’s back line, Ushedo earned a 2010 All-Conference USA First Team selection and was also named as a 2010 NSCAA All-Region member. The Blazer defense ended the year with a 1.08 goals against average; one of the best marks in the history of the program.

    “It was my first full injury-free season and I had such a hunger to show what I could do on the field,” Ushedo said. “I thought I was extremely consistent throughout the season, which is something I really wanted to work on, but more importantly I had a great amount of confidence, which is the key to success in any sport. I really just enjoyed being on the field and competing.”

    Now with his senior season complete and the post-season accolades in, Curtis Ushedo hopes to showcase his talents at the Major League Soccer Player Combine.

    “I plan to do a lot of fitness workouts to get myself game ready and to be in the most ideal shape as possible,” Ushedo said. “Fitness is one of the most significant aspects of soccer, so it's definitely the main focus.”

    Of course, his goal is to make the jump to the next level, but Ushedo would welcome a spot on one of Canada’s MLS rosters. He recognizes the fact that the game is growing in the country and is happy for future MLS franchises - Vancouver and Montreal.

    “I think it's great for the game and for Canadian soccer in general,” Ushedo said. “They are both great cities and judging by their past successes, it seems like both clubs will be exciting to watch.”

    The 21-year-old defender, who just attended Canada’s U-23 National Team training camp, could parlay his pro career into a spot on Canada’s international squads.

    “I am so grateful to be given the chance to potentially play for my country's national team; it's a wonderful feeling to know people are watching,” Ushedo said and then added, “It's really something I've strived for since I came to college and now that the opportunity has presented itself, I hope I can play well and impress the coaching staff.”

    Edit:

    Hat tip to Twitter follower Smapti for this find.

    I now hearby dub Curtis Ushido - Curtis 'Crazy Train' Ushido

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