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The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Defender Connor Lade looking to leave his mark with Red Bulls

Defender Connor Lade looking to leave his mark with Red Bulls

Never underestimate the power of hard work and the drive to be the best.  

In the case of former St. John’s men’s soccer player Connor Lade, his team-first mentality and competitiveness has resulted in an opportunity of a lifetime with the New York Red Bulls.

Lade, a 5’5” defender from Morristown, NJ, signed a contract with the Red Bulls as a homegrown player back in 2011 and has played at the MLS level for the past four years.

He has been involved with the organization since his senior season of high school when he joined the Red Bulls Academy. Lade played for the Red Bulls U-20 team that clinched the United Soccer Leagues’ Super-Y Championship and was a staple as one of the Academy’s developmental prospects.

“It’s not something I necessary expected growing up,” Lade told The Torch when asked if his experience in the MLS is still surreal. “I worked really hard to get to this point. Along the way, I had some really good coaches who taught me some lessons that I keep with me today.”

Lade was a decorated four year player at St. John’s, as he helped the program win two Big East Tournament titles, earned a Defensive MVP award in the 2011 tournament and was awarded with a second team NSCAA All-Northeast Region honor. He was a consistent starter for then head coach Dave Matur and was one of the top defensive players in a strong Big East Conference.

But what Lade really took away from his time with the program was lessons about work ethic and strong preparation.

“The work ethic that you develop there,” Lade said when asked what he learned at St. John’s. “Coach Matur, (Jeff) Matteo, Benjamin Mallue and the whole coaching staff that was there, they really worked so hard every single day.

“Just the preparation before the game that it takes to play for them and succeed there. It makes it a lot easier to come into the pros because you know how to prepare for games and you know how to visualize yourself being successful.”

Even though Lade did not start in the Red Bulls last game against Orlando City, the defensive specialist has played five games this season and has had success in his last four years with the Red Bulls.

In 2012, Lade started 22 games, finished 5th in the MLS Rookie of the Year voting and recorded three assists.

He dealt with a significant plantar fasciitis injury the following season and was limited to just five games, but rebounded to start 16 outings in 2015. He also played heavy minutes in two Open Cup games last year.

That success was sparked by experiences – something he wasn’t consistently receiving in 2014.

After five games with the Red Bulls, Lade was loaned to the Cosmos and spent one month with the organization.

“I wasn’t necessarily getting games (with the Red Bulls) so I wanted to put myself in position to get some games in,” the defender said. “I was fortunate enough to play there and get my form back but it was a great time spent and I learned a lot.”

Lade knows he still has work to do to gain a clear cut role with the Red Bulls, but his desire and unselfishness is a huge positive as he looks to continue to develop his craft.

“I just want to be a great teammate, that goes first,” he said. “Also we want to win more championships here and I want to be the best player I can be.”

Lade will never forget where he started, where he developed his work ethic and where he began to make a name for himself in the soccer world.

He will be remembered as one of the stronger Red Storm defenders in recent memory, but the next step is to continue to make a name for himself on one of the biggest soccer stages in the United States.

“I just want to look back on my career and hopefully I left a mark here. I want to be a good player but also a great person.”

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About the Contributor
Carmine Carcieri, Co-Sports Editor
Co-Sports Editor: Carmine is a senior Communications major who hopes that his section will give St. John's students the best inside insight into all athletics on campus. He hopes to give students a different perspective than other mainstream New York media outlets. He has been with the Torch for three years. [email protected]

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