Pitt midfielder Pol Planellas earned an invite to the 2018 MLS combine, according to an announcement from MLS on Thursday. He’ll be the first Pitt soccer player to attend the event.
Planellas, who is originally from Barcelona, Spain, joined the Panthers in 2017 and had quite a season. He started in 12 of Pitt’s 18 games, appearing in a total of 14 and playing 1,077 minutes. During that time, he led the team with four assists and scored a goal for the Panthers. For his efforts, he was named to the All-ACC Third Team.
"I am grateful for the opportunity to be invited to the MLS players combine," Planellas said, according to a Pitt press release. "It is my dream to play professionally, and I wouldn't be in this position without the help of Coach Vidovich and the rest of the coaches at Pitt. I'm looking forward to the challenge ahead."
The midfielder was a key component of a 2017 Pitt team that made serious strides toward improvement under second-year head coach Jay Vidovich. Prior to Vidovich’s arrival, the program had been mired in mediocrity for years, specifically struggling to make waves in conference play against both Big East and ACC opponents.
In fact, prior to Pitt’s 2-1 win over then-No. 21 Syracuse on Sept. 29, the Panthers hadn’t won a game against an ACC opponent since joining the conference ahead of the 2013 season. Planellas, by the way, facilitated both of the Panthers’ goals in that game, and Pitt would go on to beat two more ranked opponents in 2017, which was another first for the program.
He was also instrumental to Pitt’s success in the big game that preceded that — a 7-0 pummeling of West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl on Sept. 26. In that game, Planellas posted his lone goal of the season and added another assist.
Planellas is the only player from Pitt to earn a combine invite this year, but he’s one of 14 players who will represent the ACC at the event. Only 60 Division I players are invited.
The combine will be held from Jan. 11 to 17 in Orlando, Florida, and representatives from all 23 MLS teams will be present to evaluate players ahead of the MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 19.