Staples’ soccer loses top players to clubs

Gabrielle Feinsmith, Sports Editor

Prominent Staples boys’ soccer players face a dilemma: continue playing for Staples or play for an elite academy team.

“We lost [star players] Jordan McNair, Kyle Zajec and Phil Foisie to academy teams, which is obviously a big loss to the program because they’re all excellent players,” captain Michael Reid ’15 said.

The captains admit the team would be enhanced if players weren’t leaving to play on club teams. However, Reid reported the team looked very strong in the pre-season despite playing the top teams in the country.

Playing on an academy team improves the player’s game and gives an advantage when it comes to college recruitment. According to students who play for academy teams, the academy league is the main place college coaches will look. The reason behind this is students who play on academy teams have the privilege of playing against stronger competition, training with better players and receiving training from coaches on a more personal level. “There are two showcases a year where practically every major college coach in the country can see you play. In addition, each individual league game has a few coaches watching,” Joe Pravder ’16  an academy player,   said.

Kyle Zajec ’15 plays for the New York Red Bulls academy. Zajec experienced first hand the benefits of playing for one. “College coaches from all the top 50 Division I programs would frequently watch my games during my junior year. They would also frequently call my coach during the season asking about players. This, as well as Red Bull devolved me into a Division I level soccer player and led to my commitment to Georgetown University,” Zajec said.

Jordan McNair ’15 also opted to play academy rather than Staples soccer. McNair played for BSC Academy and is now committed to Dartmouth University

Not all Staples players took their opportunity to play academy. “I was invited to play academy last year as a junior, but I wanted to play Staples soccer instead. It’s a real family being on Staples soccer, and I wouldn’t want to miss one of my high-school soccer years,” Captain Andrew Puchala ’15 said.

Although players leaving to play academy have hurt the Staples team, players remain confident.

“Moving forward is never difficult for Staples soccer because our season never ends.  Since the 2013 season ended the 2014 team has been working and preparing to bounce back this year, and there’s no doubt in my mind that we will bounce back,” Captain Patrick Beusse ’15 said.