Rosedale native Kadeem Dacres looks to impress at MLS Combine

Kadeem Dacres playing for Reading United vs New York Red Bulls in the US Open Cup / Photo by Michael Anderer

Kadeem Dacres is currently a senior at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. He has competed for the U-15, U-17 and U-18 United States national teams and Met Oval in the U.S. Development Academy. Dacres was recently invited to the 2014 MLS Player Combine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I had the opportunity to discuss his growth as a player and the upcoming Combine.      

SLIM: Was soccer your first sport of choice growing up? Did you play any other sports growing up? 

KD: Basketball was my first sport growing up. I have some pictures around the house of me holding a basketball when I was much younger. It’s funny looking back on those days because my first time kicking a soccer ball was actually on a basketball court.

SLIM: Who was your greatest supporter growing up?

KD: I would have to say my parents for sure because they’ve been there for me through everything.

SLIM: How would you describe soccer on Long Island? Is it a hotbed? 

KD: Soccer on Long Island is great. A lot of people show their love and appreciation for the game. It continues to grow and develop players from a very young age group.

SLIM: As a youth, did you follow the MLS? Were you a fan of any particular team or player?

KD: As a youth I did follow the MLS a lot because of my Rosedale United coach Patrick O'Connor. He often took me to NY MetroStars games and I instantly became a huge fan.

SLIM: Tell me about your favorite book – How Soccer Explains the World. Have you applied anything that you learned in that book onto the field? 

KD: Soccer is much more than a game, or even a way of life. I haven’t really applied any of these situations on to the soccer field.

SLIM: Describe the role that UMBC has played in your soccer career/experience.

KD: I would have to say UMBC played a big role in my soccer career/experience. Red shirting my junior year was one of the most difficult times of my life. I learned about perseverance and what it meant to never give up. That molded me into the person I am today. 

SLIM: How has your playing experience with the U-15, U-17, U-18 US National team contributed to your growth as a player? Tell me about the coaches at the level.

KD: Playing for the national team at a young age was really good for me. Especially when we played against other countries we got to see how good they were compared to us. The coaches at that level were very good. They demanded the best from us each training session and game.

SLIM: What were your initial thoughts when you found out that you were invited to the 2014 Adidas MLS Player Combine? How are you preparing for that crucial event? 

KD: I was extremely proud because I know I worked so hard to get there and the news brought me so much joy. I’m preparing both mentally and physically. Right now I’m at the Seattle Sounders combine basically getting a feel for what the MLS one is going to be like. I haven’t really had a break from soccer since my last UMBC game, which is good because I want to push myself physically.

SLIM: As a player, what are your strongest skills? What are some aspects of your game that you wish to improve on?

KD: I would have to say being creative in the offensive third whether it’s taking on a player and shooting or picking out a pass. I’m trying to improve on my decision making.

SLIM: Is there a particular team you are looking to impress down in Fort Lauderdale?

KD: No not really I just want to do my best for all the teams to see. A lot of them are good I can’t just pick one. 

SLIM: Last question: Will Kadeem Dacres get drafted in the 2014 MLS Superdraft?

KD: I hope so!

Follow Kareem Dacres on Twitter at @kdeem0891