Standout defender Ramon Martin del Campo was projected to be as high as a top four selection in last month’s MLS Superdraft. However, del Campo’s draft stock took a significant hit after his performance in the MLS Combine and went undrafted through the four rounds of the SuperDraft.
Del Campo claims to have fallen ill to the common cold that evolved into strep throat, just a few days prior to the SuperDraft. However, del Campo wanted to demonstrate to the coaches and scouts that he could play through adversity.
“I wanted to play regardless,” said del Campo. “I didn’t want to sit out because of my cold, so I played. I wanted to prove to the coaches that I could play.”
Del Campo was determined to demonstrate his abilities to the coaches and scouts, while other early signees decided to sit out during combine scrimmages. Throughout the combine, del Campo did not believe that his performance was going to devalue his draft stock.
“I didn’t know it was going to affect the draft that bad,” said del Campo. “I thought, ‘Well if I’m here at this point, teams have seen me play a million times, they’ve signed already, so they really understand my potential.’”
Del Campo recognizes that his poor performance during the combine led to the drastic damage that his draft stock suffered. The standout defender was projected to be drafted in the the top five by multiple mock drafts and various coaches and scouts spoke highly of del Campo. But del Campo also indicates that his contract became expensive to clubs after the performance he displayed.
“It was a big surprise. I truly thought I was going to be picked. I didn’t think that one bad game was going to [make a difference]. It was a really bad performance,” he admits. “But I wanted to play regardless, because I truly enjoy every moment I am out there.”
Come draft day, del Campo had second thoughts about the effect that his combine performance was going to do to his draft states. After playing in the Premier Development League for the San Jose Earthquakes and earning many accolades, many expected that the Earthquakes would draft del Campo with their fourth selection. San Jose elected Fatai Alashe instead, a midfielder from Michigan State.
“On that day, I had a feeling that things weren’t going to work out,” said del Campo. “When the Quakes didn’t select me, I knew that it was not personal. They picked what they needed.”
Despite not getting drafted in the four rounds of the SuperDraft, del Campo has stayed on his course and is determined to make an MLS team.
After his contract was voided, teams began to contact del Campo as a free agent. The defending champions, Los Angeles Galaxy, invited del Campo to off-season training camps. Del Campo chose to train with the Galaxy because of Los Angeles’s proximity to his family in Chula Vista, San Diego County.
UC Davis soccer head coach, Dwayne Shaffer, complements del Campo very highly. He credits his leadership for the success that del Campo has earned.
“He’s a natural born leader and he commands the respect from his teammates,” said Shaffer. “You notice it when you’re on the field and around him, you notice it right away. His competitiveness and desire is also really big.”
Del Campo has not let any of the obstacles get in the way. Despite the many mishaps, the former Aggie is adamant and dedicated to his dream of becoming a professional player.
“I can make it into this league,” del Campo exclaimed. “I can make a name for myself.”