Former Cal Poly men’s soccer player Mackenize Pridham participated in the 2014 MLS Combine in preparation of the MLS SuperDraft to be held in Philadelphia, Penn.
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Cal Poly’s all-time leading goal-scorer and former men’s soccer forward Mackenzie Pridham will likely realize his dream of a career in professional soccer on Thursday if his name gets called in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft. The Canadian native is projected to be chosen in the second round by Toronto FC, according to Top Drawer Soccer.
Pridham was born in Toronto, Canada and recently played with the U-20 Canada Men’s National Team before training with Toronto FC this past summer. Pridham’s Toronto roots are very relevant heading into Thursday’s draft, with Toronto FC projected to select him with their 15th or 24th overall pick in many mock drafts.
“It would be amazing to be there just because I have all of my family and relatives in Toronto,” he said by phone on Tuesday.
Pridham scored 14 goals in 20 games this past season and earned the Big West Offensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound forward said his playing style is similar to the great strikers of the game. He firmly believes he will succeed in Major League Soccer.
“I know I can play with these guys at the next level,” Pridham said. “My goal is to sign a contract, and from there be a designated player and get plenty of minutes.”
Pridham, who now holds a degree in business administration after walking at graduation this past December, holds high expectations for his future when mentioning his goal of retrieving a designated player tag. Each team in Major League Soccer is allowed just three roster spots for “designated players,” whose hefty price tags do not count against the club’s salary cap.
If Pridham’s goal of reaching a designated player contract is achieved, then he will likely face a difficult decision once such recognition is reached. Being born in Canada, Pridham is eligible to play for both the Canadian Men’s National Team and the U.S. National Team due to his length of residency, but he can only choose one.
The Toronto native would love to play for his country of origin, but he says the draft is too far away to think too much about it. As of now, with each tick of the clock, Pridham’s dream of hearing his name announced by Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber is approaching reality.
“It would be breathtaking, exciting and relieving,” he said.
Pridham, called “Mac” by those who know him best, has scored loads of goals at each level and for every club in his playing career. He has the tools a true goal scorer needs to be successful at the professional level, Cal Poly men’s soccer head coach Paul Holocher said.
“Mac is a true number nine,” Holocher said. “I do think he’ll score at the next level. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.”
“He’s very strong,” Holocher added. “He’s very savvy with his movement and he’s got very good control of the ball. That’s a great combination.”
Pridham’s uncanny playing style confuses opposing goalkeepers, which has been the key to his success thus far, said freshman goalkeeper Eric Kam.
“It’s super hard to read his body language,” Kam said. “He always tries to throw you off with the way he’s facing and his positioning with the ball. I think he’s going to do pretty well.”
Pridham’s unique style of play is equally matched with a great level of dedication and work ethic, Kam said.
“He has the desire to just be the best he can,” he said. “I knew he had the drive that it takes to go pro.”
Pridham has just completed his participation in the 2014 MLS Combine, which is a four-day annual showcase for prospective players ahead of the draft. Pridham was unable to score in the first match and then injured his ankle in the second, causing him to miss the final game of the combine.
The former Cal Poly forward entered the combine with a high draft stock, he said. He spoke to Real Salt Lake, Colorado Rapids and indirectly to Toronto FC throughout the showcase.
“Hopefully it was enough to show coaches my abilities and my intelligence,” Pridham said.
In Major League Soccer, Pridham is joining one of the fastest-rising professional soccer leagues on the planet and said he is glad to be a part of the evolution of American soccer.
“I’m excited to hopefully be a part of such a growing league,” Pridham said.
The Major League Soccer Superdraft will be aired on ESPNEWS, starting at 9 a.m. Pacific Time on Thursday morning.