One of 60 invitees to the 2018 MLS Player Combine from Jan. 11-18, 2018 at Orlando City Stadium, UNC and Tobacco Road FC forward Alan Winn is preparing to showcase not only his talent, but his personality as well.
After a stellar youth career with Naaman Forest in his home state of Texas, Winn parlayed his No. 9 national prospect ranking from TopDrawerSoccer into a standout four year tenure with the Tar Heels. After seeing the field in 20 matches his freshman year, he became an every day starter for the next three seasons for UNC, becoming one of the team’s most productive forward options.
Over his 77 match career, Winn racked up 23 goals and 14 assists for the Tar Heels, including a breakout senior campaign in which he scored double-digit goals. Helped by his contributions, the Tar Heels reached the NCAA Tournament every year of his career and made the College Cup as one of the nation’s four best teams the past two seasons.
Along the way, Winn earned plenty of recognition, being named an ACC All-Freshman selection his first year and following it up with two All-ACC Second Team nominations his sophomore and junior seasons. He capped off his senior year with an All-ACC First Team selection as well as honors as a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist.
The 2018 MLS SuperDraft will be hosted in Philadelphia on Jan. 19. MLS recently announced the list of 2018 MLS Player Combine invitees, taking place from January 11-18 at Orlando City Stadium, with 46 of the 60 players named boasting PDL experience. Since 2010, 70 percent of all MLS SuperDraft picks have been PDL alums.
PDL: You’ve reached the conclusion of a stunning four-year career at UNC, including being named a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist this season. What has enabled you to be so successful?
Alan Winn: “My success throughout my collegiate career is credited to my teammates and staff that have impacted me in various ways. The culture, community and values of the UNC soccer program have shaped my success and growth as a player and a human being. I can’t thank my teammates and coaches enough for their belief in me.”
PDL: After consistent production in your first three years, you stepped it up another level your senior season with 11 goals and two assists. What prompted your increased productivity this season?
AW: “The only real ‘change’ I felt was my focus in the final third. The seasons before my senior year, I set myself up and my teammates on a consistent basis just like this year. The only difference is that I had a statistical resume to show for it.”
PDL: You made the NCAA Tournament all four seasons at UNC, and reached the College Cup the past two seasons. What would you say is your most prized accomplishment during college?
AW: “Our legacy. Being a part of something bigger than yourself and representing a program of such high integrity is an accomplishment within itself, and to be able to do it with a group of guys who have the same mentality of wanting to be the best day in and day out leaves me nostalgic going into the next level.”
PDL: As you leave collegiate soccer and move into the professional ranks, what will you miss most about playing at UNC?
AW: “The invaluable friendships. I always believed that in order to play your best you have to have a sense of purpose and passion. This team gave me an opportunity every year to reach my highest potential and for that I will most them the most.”
PDL: You’ve been invited to the 2018 MLS Players Combine starting next week. What are you most looking forward to during the process?
AW: “Getting to know the other invitees and the coaching staff at different clubs. I want to showcase my soccer talent just like everyone else, but I want to unveil my personality as well. I realize this may all seem like just a business, although these moments don’t come so often, so I plan to enjoy my time and get to know all the people I meet at the combine along the way.”
PDL: As MLS teams get an up-close look at you, what about yourself do you want teams potentially interested in drafting you to know?
AW: “That I carry a set of values, a purpose and a sense of passion in everything I do. I carry myself to the highest of standards and never feel satisified. There is always something new to learn in this so-called simple game and I always play with a sense of urgency in order to excel for a club that is bigger than myself.”