He won the Los Angeles Galaxy's first ever open tryout in 2007, and now Laurent Merlin is hoping to do something similar in the NASL. The French midfielder is back in the United States, and after impressing at the NASL Combine, he’s optimistic about landing a contract with an NASL side.
“It’s been a very good first few days,” said Laurent Merlin. “Sometimes it’s hard to play with guys you don’t know, but I’m happy to play here and show what I can do.”
Merlin, 28, comes to the combine having most recently played for U.S. Latina Calcio in the third division in Italy. Born in Marseille, France he came through the Olympique de Marseille system before joining AC Ajaccio.
Following David Beckham’s much-publicized arrival in Los Angeles, the team hosted an open tryout that was won by Merlin. Then just 22 years-old, he beat out over 800 players from all over the world to earn a trial with the club, though he ultimately signed with their local rivals Chivas USA. He spent one season with the club before returning to Europe, signing with St. Patrick’s Athletic in Ireland.
Six years later, he’s back in the States, hoping to do it all again.
“I love the football in America,” said Merlin. “I love the people, and the mentality. MLS, NASL—these are good leagues.”
Merlin was a standout over three days at the combine. A central midfielder by trade, he showed his class and international pedigree by pulling the strings in center of the field.
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|New York Cosmos||14||9||4||1||10||31|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||14||5||5||4||3||20|
|Minnesota United FC||14||6||2||6||2||20|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||14||5||3||6||-2||18|
|San Antonio Scorpions||14||3||1||10||-9||10|
|San Antonio Scorpions||12||6||2||4||4||20|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||12||5||3||4||5||18|
|Minnesota United FC||12||4||2||6||-5||14|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||12||2||2||8||-14||8|