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Olivier Occean on Bigsoccer


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This is the article that sparked all that discussion (from The New York Times):


Using Scouting Combine to Move Up

Major League Soccer has invited 66 college players to its scouting combine early next month in California. Many will be drafted by the league, and a few will receive modest contract offers before the draft. Most will be selected and enter a twilight zone between a collegiate and a professional career, a place where they will train for several months with one of 12 league teams but be free to sign elsewhere.

That is what happened last year to striker Olivier Occean, a 6-foot-1 Canadian who scored 57 goals at Southern Connecticut State. The MetroStars selected him with the 26th pick.

Occean said the MetroStars advised him not to attend last year's combine, to limit his exposure.

After drafting Occean, a Montreal native, the MetroStars took him to Spain in March, and he played well in the La Manga tournament. He was snapped up by the Norwegian club Odd Grenland, signing for three years at $60,000 a year. He scored 17 goals for the club last season.

As a third-round draft pick in M.L.S., Occean, then 22, was offered a deal for the league minimum, about $25,000.

"The MetroStars and Coach Bob Bradley weren't too happy with me," Patrick McCabe, Occean's agent, said in a telephone interview. "They had the guy five weeks and didn't sign him. And these European clubs are looking for bargains, and Olivier didn't cost them a transfer fee."

Other M.L.S. players who have completed their contracts - like D.C. United defender Ryan Nelsen and San Jose's Dewayne De Rosario and Ramiro Corrales (who signed to play in Norway last week) - are appealing because there are no transfer fees.

Occean and McCabe said it was likely that Odd Grenland would soon sell Occean, who speaks French, for more than $1 million, probably to a team in France or Belgium.

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