New England Soccer Today

A Chance to Shine

Photo credit: Providence College

Photo credit: Providence College

As a forward, Fabio Machado is used to seeing his name on the scoresheet. But going into his senior season at Providence College, the 21-year-old was determined to put his name on a different kind of list.

After playing a starring role in the Friars’ Cinderella season, Machado’s hard work paid off when he was listed among the 50 college seniors invited to the 2015 MLS Player Combine, which will run from Thursday through next Tuesday in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

“For the first week after, I was kind of like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe that I made it,’” Machado said via telephone. “I accomplished the goal I wanted when my senior year came – that’s what I wanted to do: Get a chance to go down there, and prove what I can do.”

How Machado made the cut for the Combine isn’t hard to see. During his senior year, he was the catalyst of the Friars attack, scoring six goals and adding a team-high eight assists in a perennially-competitive BIG EAST conference.

And if timing is everything, no one was more clutch for the 3rd-ranked Friars than Machado. Five of his strikes were game-winners, the last of which beat Michigan State in the Elite 8 to send Providence to its first College Cup appearance in school history.

After the magical run ended in overtime against UCLA in the semifinal, the Leominster, Mass. native took the opportunity to take a short rest. Between his senior year and a summertime stint with the Real Boston Rams, where he scored seven goals and added two assists in 11 games, Machado essentially played non-stop since early-May.

But it wasn’t long before Machado was back in the gym. After seeing his name on the Combine list, the Friar forward was doing all he could prepare for the biggest tryout of his life.

“I just kind of got back to work with running and lifting and getting some extra practice,” Machado said. “I actually got some practice with the Rams the other day just to get a practice in, so it’s good.”

While Machado’s invite to the Combine is certainly deserved, some believe he shouldn’t even be in a position of having to prove himself all over again.

As a former Revolution Academy product, the could presumably list him as “Homegrown Protected,” much like they did with Scott Caldwell after the 2012 NCAA season. The tag would allow the Revolution the first crack at signing Machado.

However, Machado said that he is unsure of his standing with the Revolution organization, which did not immediately respond to a request for clarification from His two seasons with the Rams, who are the Revolution’s PDL affiliate, suggests that the MLS side wanted to keep an eye on his progress. During his last conversation with the Academy staff, Machado said he was offered encouragement as he prepared for the Combine, but not much else.

“I don’t even know if that’s the decision they made,” Machado said in reference to his Homegrown status. “But I’m not disappointed. Everyone has their opinion on what they think is best for the team, so no, I’m not disappointed.”

With his focus on Ft. Lauderdale – where could be reunited with former Academy coach Bryan Scales, who’ll guide one of the four squads assembled for the Combine – Machado is looking to showcase what he believes is his greatest asset.

“My creativity with the ball,” Machado said. “I think I can not only score goals, but I can set up a lot of players for scoring opportunities. That’s been (a bigger) part of my game as I’ve gotten older.”

The pundits are predicting that Machado will be selected sometime in the third round of next Thursday’s SuperDraft. While the Revolution, who currently hold the 33rd, 47th and 61st overall picks, certainly know about their Academy product well, Machado said he will be happy to go wherever he is wanted.

“(The Revolution) might have passed on me for the homegrown status, but that won’t stop me,” Machado said. “Now, I have a chance to prove to other teams that might take a chance on me.”

Leave a Reply