Miami United head coach Ferdinando De Matthaeis is a former New York Cosmos player and has extensive coaching and playing experience here in the U.S. and abroad.

1.  What are your expectations for the NPSL Combine Tournament?

On a personal note, it is an honor and a privilege to be part of the committee and the coaching staff for the NPSL Combine. It took a lot of work and dedication from all the members of the committee and the coaches. Because this is the first time that the NPSL is organizing the combine, we want to send a clear message to U.S. Soccer that the NPSL has the right resources and the right players to compete at any level.

2.  What are you hoping the players get out of the experience?

For the players it should be a great opportunity to showcase their talent and it should be a great accomplishment to just be part of the combine.

3.  What do you think of the talent assembled at the combine?

I think that the level of the players at the combine will be very high. It took a lot of work to pick the 60 players. The ones that I know personally are definitely of high quality. The South Region will have a strong team.

4.  What are you hoping to share with the players at the combine?

How might your experiences help them as they reach the next level? It will be an opportunity to meet a lot of players on a personal basis and I’m curious to see how determined they are to make the best out of this opportunity. I can definitely share with them my personal career that was very unique because I came from Italy on a tryout basis and I was able to make one of the top team in the U.S., the New York Cosmos back in the early 80s. I took advantage of the opportunity 100% back then, now it’s their turn.

Tampa Bay Rowdies head coach Thomas Rongen, widely regarded as one of the top coaching minds in the U.S., is the former head coach of the U.S. U-20 men’s national team. His time with American Samoa was the subject of a popular soccer documentary, Next Goal Wins.

1. What are your expectations for the NPSL Combine?

The NPSL Combine will allow us to scout young up-and-coming talent. The NPSL has a history of providing NASL quality players and I am excited to see what this year’s combine has to offer.

Fort Pitt Regiment head coach John Kowalski, who also serves as the head coach of the Robert Morris Unviersity women’s soccer team, boasts an impressive résumé of coaching experience that includes time as head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Futsal Team, U.S. Men’s U-20 National Team, and several Major League Soccer (MLS), USL A-League, and Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) franchises. He is best known for his time as the interim head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team in 1991.

1.  In your opinion, what makes a successful combine?

When players get picked up by MLS and other pro teams.

2.  How will this event help NPSL players gain recognition and exposure?

They will be playing in front of “special interest group,” representatives from pro teams that are in the business of picking up new talent.

3.  What do you think is going to be a strength for the Midwest Region team in particular?

There are some very good forwards with terrific speed, some very creative midfielders and very tenacious defenders. The goalkeeper is very good as well.

4.  What are you hoping to share with the players at the combine?

I hope that I will be able to convey a message to our players as to what pro coaches are looking for in players at a combine.

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