SPORTS BRIEF: Altchek, Akpan’s 2006 seasons continue with high-level tryouts

The 2006 campaign was one of the best in the history of the Harvard men’s soccer team, which continues to reap the dividends of an Ivy League championship season.

On Thursday, captain and two-time Ivy League Player of the Year Charles Altchek went to Florida for the Adidas Major League Soccer (MLS) Player Combine. During the holiday break, Ivy League Rookie of the Year André Akpan stayed on as one of 21 players training for the U.S. Under-20 National Team, from which one more player will be cut before the Jan. 17-21 CONCACAF qualifying tournament in Panama City, Panama.

Akpan is training with players such as MLS phenom Freddie Adu and UCLA standout Sal Zizzo under veteran U-20 coach Thomas Rongen. Zizzo scored twice in UCLA’s win against the Crimson in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The MLS combine will take place through today and will give Altchek a chance to showcase his skills before the 2007 Superdraft. As one of 62 players invited to the combine, Altchek automatically qualifies to enter the draft, which will take place on Jan. 12. The first round will air on ESPN, while information about the following picks will be available at MLSnet.com.

The last soccer player drafted professionally from Harvard was Kevin Ara ’04, whom the D.C. United selected in the third round in 2004.

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