The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Making Serious Strides

There’s a copious amount of basketball content in this issue of the Torch, and being that it’s our last issue of the semester, I think it’s fitting that we leave you with a sports section that will serve as the perfect segway into what you should expect for most of the spring semester – lots and lots of basketball. So, in bidding farewell to what was a joyous fall semester for the Torch, let’s head into winter break with something that gives you a short break from St. John’s basketball…

As you all know from the article above (if not, give it a read!), Connor Lade will be training with Sevilla FC of Spain’s La Liga for ten days this winter. It may not sound like a major deal to most, but it truly is.
First off, consider how many American soccer players dream of playing in Europe. No matter how quickly MLS is growing in popularity, and more importantly, quality, Europe will always remain the tip of the ice berg for the American footballer (Yes, I said it: footballer!).

The fact that Lade, who was a lynchpin for Dr. Dave Masur’s soccer program, will be bumping shoulders with the likes of Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo, who where part of Spain’s Euro 2012 winning team and face off against the likes of Ronaldo, Messi and Falcao on a weekly basis, is, excuse my giddiness, extraordinary.

Masur has had a number of his former players reach the professional ranks, including 2002 graduate, Shalrie Joseph, who currently plays for MLS’s Chivas USA, but none have played with a team as revered as Sevilla.
Joseph was courted on a number occasions by famed Scottish side Celtic FC during the mid 2000’s, but a deal never materialized. This makes Lade’s training stint in Spain all the more exciting. The Red Bulls defender will have the opportunity to immerse himself in the European game, which is something that can go a long way when he returns for Red Bulls training camp.

Since the MLS is a league where its players rely on physical prowess rather than strict, in-depth tactics, players who have European experience usually thrive in the United States’ first division because their mind is always a step ahead of the events occurring on the pitch.

The perfect example is the most prominent European to grace the MLS stage: David Beckham. While Becks roamed the right wing during his days at Manchester United and Real Madrid, he was stationed in the center of midfield during hist time with the Los Angeles Galaxy; the reason being because his vision on the pitch was superior to anyone else’s on the team – and that stems from his experience in Europe, where his decision making was expected to be one step ahead of the match’s speed-of-play.

So, while it isn’t plausible to expect Lade to return from his 10-day stint in Seville with a feel for the game that is anywhere near Beckham’s, it’s an exciting prospect to see how he will adapt his soccer studies in Spain to his already impressive game.

Lade has been recognized for his intense energy on the pitch – Thierry Henry has even dubbed him as a game-changer – so it will be interesting to watch his European education mesh with his high work-rate.
Considering that Lade made 26 appearances during his first year with the Red Bulls, he’ll most likely be allotted a significant amount of playing time to put his Sevilla-taught lessons to good use, which could help him vault into the upper-echelon of MLS players.

While Lade’s winter stint in Spain will undoubtedly advance his game in ways that he hasn’t experienced before, it will also bode well for Masur and co. right here in Queens.

Masur has never had trouble convincing quality talent to grace the Belson turf, but as the Red Storm nation intently watches Lade’s rise as a professional, more and more high caliber recruits will choose to come to St. John’s in hopes of following in his footsteps – which will only lengthen the Johnnies status as a preeminent soccer program.

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About the Contributor
Mitchell Petit-Frere, Managing Editor
Contact: [email protected]. Mitch likes Cristiano Ronaldo. Other than that, he’s been a great Sports Editor the past year. Mitch came in as the biggest question mark, with only half a year of experience as a staff writer and fresh from a semester abroad where he picked up weird fashion trends like scarves in the summer. He quickly answered any questions about whether he was up to the task, improving the sports section in every facet, while adding a unique voice in his columns. Now, as managing editor, I’m sure he’ll bring that same perspective and quality to the paper as a whole. — Mike Cunniff Editor-in-Chief, Emeritus

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