Entering the final match day of the 2018 MLS Player Combine, PDL alums will have one last shot to show their stuff ahead of Friday’s SuperDraft in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
One alum seeking to take advantage of their chance to shine is Sounders FC U23 and Mercer Bears alum Will Bagrou. The four-year forward had a highly-productive career at Mercer, reaching four-consecutive All-Southern Conference First Teams while scoring 30 career goals and winning three conference titles. He’s put on a good display so far at the 2018 Combine, being sure to enjoy the ride along the way.
“I feel good so far,” Bagrou told USLPDL.com. “There’s a lot of great competition here so it’s challenging and it’s tough playing only 40 minutes per day, but I’m enjoying the experience.”
While his Mercer numbers speak for themselves, Bagrou had to overcome the stigma of playing in a conference that many scouts tend to overlook. Despite not having the national acclaim of the ACC or Big Ten, the Southern Conference provided a home for Bagrou’s collegiate years, and the talented forward made the most of his opportunity to bring himself and the conference onto a larger stage.
“It’s been a great ride and I’m really blessed to have been able to go to Mercer University,” said Bagrou. “We won three championships there from my freshman to my senior year, so it was a really unforgettable experience. I couldn’t do any of it without my teammates and coaches, so I appreciate them helping me get to this point.”
In addition to his time at Mercer, Bagrou also joined up with the PDL’s Sounders FC U23 in the summer prior to his senior season. Despite being a good distance away from Macon, Georgia, Bagrou’s desire to venture west to Seattle, combined with his knowledge of the Sounders FC U23 history of developing future professionals, led him to venture across the country.
“I was going through the list of PDL teams, and I was really interested in going to Seattle,” said Bagrou. “I know they have a great history with their PDL program developing players, bringing them out and getting them to the next level.”
Under the direction of Coach Darren Sawatzky, Bagrou made the most of what would ordinarily be a break for many collegiate athletes. The advanced level of play in the PDL allowed Bagrou to further elevate his talented game and promote himself into one of the nation’s top forwards.
“The PDL helps develop players because the summer is usually a full break,” Bagrou said. “But the ones who are more determined to make it to the next level need to train in and out of season. It’s more demanding, your touches, your passing, everything needs to be sharp and perfect. I really want to thank Coach Darren and the staff over there for preparing me for this point.”