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Andrew Souders withdraws from the MLS combine

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Is Souders withdraw part of another savvy Berhalter move?

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

MLS released the MLS Draft combine list over the weekend and there was an interesting name that was not on the list for Crew SC fans. Akron Andrew Souders is a Crew Soccer Academy alumni, but was not going to be offered a contract by the team according to head coach Gregg Berhalter in December.

There are a couple reasons a player might drop off the list. Four others dropped off the combine list including Red Bulls homegrown Brandon Allen and Houston signee Bradley Bourgeois. They got contracts. It could be that Souders is attracting interest from overseas and has a deal with a team in Europe or Berhalter changed his mind. No need to risk injury with a contract coming.

There is another contract option that would be more unusual. Souders could be signed as a homegrown player, but not by Crew SC. It's a little used option, but homegrown player rights can be traded. Josh Janniere was traded from Toronto to Colorado in 2011. Bryan Gallego's homegrown rights were traded by the Red Bulls to Portland in 2012. He signed with the Timbers in 2014.

Sauders is projected as a 2nd round pick in this year's draft, so there is likely interest in his services. This could even be seen as a player first move from Berhalter if he reached out to the player and hoped to ensure a smooth landing. Joining the Crew SC Soccer Academy wouldn't be an all or nothing proposition with the player getting locked into a bad situation or the randomness of the draft.

Even though that Crew SC is passing on Souders, there still could be a way for the team to get some value out of the coaching they gave the players. It might also be a move to give Souders control over where he goes in MLS.

The last option is the most interesting. The homegrown tag locks players to a certain team even if it's not the best fit. A trade would provide another path out beyond Europe and the draft. A path that provides a (small) voice to the player and some compensation to the team.

Any of the above is speculation. The real reason should be known shortly when Souders finalizes his future plans.

UPDATE: Travis Clark gets the full scoop. Souders is stepping away from soccer. It's the most prosaic and pragmatic of reasons.