Connor Lade put together an impressive career over his four years with the St. John’s men’s soccer team and now he will get a chance to prove his worth at the professional level with Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls.
On Dec. 5, it was announced that Lade signed a contract with his hometown club. The Convent Station, N.J. native — from just outside Morristown — native was thrilled that he would be getting an opportunity to play for the team he grew up watching.
“It is pretty special to play locally, to be around my family and friends and it’s such a great club that the Red Bulls have,” said Lade.
Lade was signed under the Home Grown Player Rule, which allows teams to sign an unlimited number of players as long as they participated in the club’s academy. The Red Bulls are able to sign up to two players each year from its homegrown talent list. Teams can now literally create rosters of home-grown players.
Lade joined the Red Bulls Academy in the winter of 2007, largely due to his coach at St. John’s, Dave Masur. Masur urged him to join prior to entering St. John’s so that he could compete at a high level, which would prepare him for the rigors of Big East play.
Masur just finished his 21st season coaching at St. John’s, where he won a national championship in 1996. Lade had nothing but good things to say about his former coach.
“He has been supportive of me and I’m very appreciative of everything he has taught me,” said Lade. “I will stay in contact with him because he is such a great coach.”
In his 2011 campaign with the Red Storm, Lade had the chance he wanted to avenge the team’s 2010 shortcomings by capturing the Big East Tournament title and a bid to the NCAA Tournament. They were bounced from the tournament in a 1-0 loss to Brown in the second round, but Lade was extremely proud of the effort.
In recognition of his outstanding play during the year, Lade earned first team, All-Northeast Region honors as well as the Big East Tournament’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award. Lade was humbled with the accolades, but he believes that they were just a compliment to how well the team played.
“It was a tribute to everything we were able to overcome and I’m very fortunate to be recognized for that, but I wish everyone could get one of those awards on the team,” said Lade.
Lade might have to hold off on the celebration, however. Finals week stands in his way of preparation for the upcoming MLS season. The sports management major will then only have to complete one internship to earn his degree.
After that it will be strictly business. Lade will be focusing on his fitness so he will show up in the best possible shape. He hopes to open some eyes as a Red Bull and make an impact as a rookie, but he’s not looking too far ahead.
“I don’t want to look too far into the future because I really want to focus now on what I can be doing.”
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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