They were high school rivals growing up, then college teammates at Cal.
Now it’s likely that Rocklin’s Seth Casiple and Granite Bay’s Connor Hallisey will become rivals again, this time in Major League Soccer.
Hallisey and Casiple, both All-Pacific-12 Conference midfielders this past fall for the Bears, are among 73 college players attending the six-day MLS Player Combine that starts today in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Both are projected to be drafted in the first round Jan. 15 in the MLS SuperDraft in Philadelphia.
Expected to join them in Florida will be UC Davis senior defender Ramon Martin Del Campo, USF senior forward Miguel Aguilar from Encina High School and UC Irvine senior forward Cameron Iwasa from Jesuit.
Martin Del Campo, a member of the USA National Under-23 men’s team, already has signed an MLS contract and is expected to be a top-10 pick.
TopDrawerSoccer, one of several websites projecting the draft, has Casiple going to DC United with the 17th pick and Hallisey being selected by the MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy at No. 21, the last pick in the first round.
Casiple and Hallisey used to duel in the Sierra Foothill League, where Hallisey was the 2010 co-SFL Player of the Year at Granite Bay and Casiple the Gatorade California Boys Soccer Player of the Year at Rocklin.
In college, Casiple and Hallisey helped lead Cal to the NCAA tournament’s round of 16 last season and to the quarterfinals in 2013.
Casiple, a co-captain, had a goal and seven assists this past season and finished his Cal career with six goals and 27 assists. Hallisey had nine goals and a team-high 12 assists this season to finish second in points in the Pac-12. He was one of 16 semifinalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy that goes to the top player in men’s college soccer.
Del Campo emerged on the MLS’ radar after playing with a San Jose Earthquakes’ Premier Development League team. He was a captain at UC Davis in the fall.
Iwasa, a two-time All-Big West Conference selection, scored six goals and had six assists last fall and also was a Hermann Trophy semifinalist. Aguilar was a four-year starter at USF, where he made All-West Coast Conference first team in the fall.
On the move – MLS veterans Jalil Anibaba (Davis High) and Amobi Okugo (Jesuit) have been traded to new teams.
Anibaba, a defender, was selected by the Orlando City Lions from Seattle in the expansion draft, then traded to Sporting Kansas City. He played in 16 matches, starting 14, last season for the Sounders. Before going to Seattle, Anibaba played three seasons with the Chicago Fire.
Okugo, a midfielder-defender, was acquired by Orlando City from the Philadelphia Union for allocation money and a 2016 MLS SuperDraft second-round pick. He played five seasons with Philadelphia and was signed by the former USL Pro team to provide defensive support for the Lions’ designated player Kaka, the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year.
Thompson Jamaica-bound – Loomis native Tommy Thompson will play for the United States in the CONCACAF U-20 championship Friday through Jan. 24 in Jamaica. The tournament is a qualifier for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
Thompson, of the Earthquakes, played on loan in nine matches last season for Republic FC. He already has seven caps with the U-20s.
The former Granite Bay star scored in a friendly against the Honduras U-20s in early December and also had a goal in his national team debut in a 4-0 win over Bermuda on July 16.
Kudos for Republic – USL Pro selected Republic FC’s league championship run in its inaugural season as its top storyline for 2014.
Call The Bee’s Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.