DURHAM, N.C.—A trio of Blue Devils is among the 60 initial Division I players invited to participate at the 2018 Major League Soccer adidas Player Combine in Orlando in January. Duke’s Markus Fjørtoft, Carter Manley and Brian White were selected to play in front of scouts from all 23 MLS clubs.
The league will hold its annual combine from Jan. 11-17 at Orlando City Stadium, with representatives from all 23 MLS clubs scouting the top college prospects ahead of the Jan. 19 MLS SuperDraft in Philadelphia.
A committee of MLS coaches and NCAA D1 coaches from every conference selected the invitees, all of whom completed their college eligibility this season. Further invitees, including Generation adidas signings and non-college players, will be announced in coming weeks.
Akron leads the way with five selections, while Duke is second with three on the initial list.
White, a third-team All-America pick, headlined Duke’s offense in 2017 with 10 goals and two assists for 22 points. He is a two-time All-ACC second team choice and is the first Blue Devil to earn All-America recognition since Sebastien Ibeagha did so in 2013.
White recorded his first career multiple-goal game against Fordham this past August and finished 2017 with tallies in nine games overall. He netted the game-winning goals against Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh and Appalachian State. For his career, White registered 23 goals and 10 assists for 56 points. He played in 73 games overall with 63 starts
Playing with the New York Red Bulls in the Premier Development League during the summer, White had a breakout season this past summer en route to being named the PDL MVP and Golden Boot winner with a league-leading 17 goals and 38 points overall. He led the Red Bulls to the Mid Atlantic Division Title and PDL regular season title.
A starter in all 73 of the games he played, Fjørtoft was a staple as a center back for the Blue Devils. He garnered All-ACC third team recognition this season and was crucial in Duke finishing fourth in the ACC and earning the No. 6 seed in the NCAA Championships. He missed just 181 minutes in the 73 games he appeared in in his four seasons. In the past four seasons, he helped Duke to 14 shutouts, including seven this season.
An aerial threat for the Blue Devils on set pieces, the Norway native also has seven goals and two assists to his name, including the game winner at Syracuse this season. He also had the tying goal in a 3-2 win over High Point earlier in the year. His senior season has been his best, captaining Duke to seven shutouts and a 1.01 goals against average and scoring three goals.
Manley, arguably Duke’s most versatile and best one-on-one defender, collected his first all-region award after helping anchor a strong year for the Blue Devil defense. A starter in all 20 games this season, Manley was superb as a right outside back as Duke posted seven shutouts en route to a fourth-place finish in the ACC and a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
An attacking-minded defender, Manley is highly effective in going forward and has a team-best five assists this season. For his career, the Elkridge, Md., native has played in 58 games with 52 starts and has a goal and 12 assists for 14 points.
Fjørtoft played with the New York Red Bulls this past summer in the PDL, captaining the team to the regular season title. Manley has been a mainstay with DC United during his time with the Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils finished the 2017 campaign with a 13-4-3 overall record and took fourth in the ACC regular season standings. The six-game improvement from a year ago matched the best one-year turnaround in Duke history, while the 13 wins are the second-most under head coach John Kerr. Duke, earning a top 16 seed for the first time since 2006, advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 before falling in heartbreaking fashion in penalty kicks to Fordham.