Future Focus: South Jersey’s own All-American Alec Golini

Posted on 11 February 2010 by Breton Bonnette

If there’s one person that knows the future matters, it’s Coach Piotr Nowak. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have gone out and drafted himself two 18 year olds and a high schooler who has yet to graduate. One thing is certain, though, this country – and more specifically the Philadelphia metro region – is chock full of talent that has yet to be realized, discovered, and/or appreciated. ASN Philly wanted to at least spend some time introducing you, while we have this space to do so, to the talent that graces this area and may or may not go unnoticed.

First on the list is NSCAA High School All-American Alec Golini. A senior from Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mount Holly, NJ, Golini is yet another product of a brilliant soccer-talent factory led by Head Coach Damon Petras. Consider these names: Byron Carmichael (drafted by the Kansas City Wizards a while back), Ryan Finley (current US U-20s and Duke striker) and add to that a long line of Division I NCAA contributors and you’ve got yourself a hotbed of youth soccer right here in South Jersey. Add to that FC Delco and many other youth clubs and it’s one of the best areas in the nation, hands down. Alec hasn’t seen that national team attention yet but he was one of two NJ All-Americans this season and he took home South Jersey player of the year (an award that generally is indicative of future soccer success!). Golini, clearly with his head on his shoulders, will take his impeccable ball control and vision on the pitch to the Lafayette Leopards next season and hopefully we can get updates of his journey…

There seems to be a real Rancocas Valley prospect machine – with Byron Carmichael, Ryan Finley, Blake Fink, and many others who have made their way out of your area. All have had or will potentially have shots at a professional career – what do you attribute that to?

I have had the opportunity and privilege of playing along side some of the best talent South Jersey has ever seen. Playing with the likes of Stephen Macurdy (Lafayette), Luke Calvano (Lafayette), Blake Fink (Lafayette) and Ryan Finley (Duke) have shaped me into the player I am today. Having played with so many phenomenal players, the bar is set very high for the next person in line so to speak – meaning that each player’s accomplishments are a goal to be broken by the next. This way, each player strives to play at the highest level and the highest rate, challenging them to raise the bar that was set by a preceding player. Attributing to this attitude, the Rancocas Valley Soccer Program is one that is well-known, respected, and dedicated to a winning tradition that demands the most out of its players. Obviously, the system has paid off.

Do you talk to many of the alumni, especially those like Ryan and Blake who are currently playing at Division I schools?

Because I had the opportunity to play with players like Macurdy, Calvano, Fink, and Finley spanning from my freshmen to junior seasons at Rancocas Valley, I’ve become very close to each individual. I am in contact with every single one of them – obviously it is easier for me to catch up with the Lafayette guys being that I constantly visit my future college, but we are all very close. It is great to have that relationship with players who I can look to as role models and models of success that have gone on to play at the next level, Division I soccer.

Who has been the most influential in shaping you as a player?

This one is a tough question for me. That’s because there’s a long list of individuals who have had a great impact on me as a player and a student of the game – I certainly wish I could name them all. But there are two people who really stand out in my mind as having the most influence on who I am as a player. The first is Dennis Ludwig, National All-American at Rutgers University, who was my coach for several years and a very close friend of mine. Dennis truly aided my growth as a player and taught me what I needed to learn about the game, in order to play at the next level, and improve as a player. The second individual, is my dad, Jim Golini. My dad has had the most influence on me as a person and a player out of anyone on any list I may put together – ever since I was young playing U8 until the very last game of my high school career, I can’t remember a day when there wasn’t a discussion of soccer, something I could tweak in my game, or a pregame email, text, or phone call that reminded me of a high level of work rate, consistency, and to play like I’ve got something to prove. And to top it all – out of the hundreds of games I’ve played in my soccer career, there’s rarely been a day when my dad has been absent from the sideline.

The Barons youth system seems to have developed a lot of talent over the past several years as well, what was it like with that experience?

The Barons youth system focuses on a system of tactics, fundamentals, and respect and knowledge of the game. My experience as a Baron really set the mold for who I would be as a player and gave me the tools to really develop into an all around player. The club taught me a style and side of the game that fit me well, and helped me transition and prepare for collegiate soccer.

The Barons have always had a great connection with Reading of the English Championship, can you explain to us what goes into that relationship? Trips, coaching, etc.

One of the greatest things about playing for the Barons over the years was having the affiliation with the Reading Football Club of England. This relationship brought coaches, equipment, and techniques to the Barons organization that truly benefitted the youth academy and its players. I was actually lucky enough to partake on two trips abroad to England sponsored by the Barons. My first trip was a team trip in which we played local clubs of the Reading area, including Reading’s own youth teams. My second trip was an individually focussed trip in which a few players including myself had the privilege of training and practicing with the Reading Football Club Youth Academy for one week. This experience was one I’ll certainly never forget, and was a great part of being in the Baron’s Youth Academy.

What made you choose Lafayette? What other schools were looking at you?

I chose Lafayette because I was extremely comfortable with the atmosphere both academically and athletically, and really liked the coaching staff, the players, and the goals the soccer program wishes to pursue in the coming years. I am really excited about being part of such great tradition and joining a group of players that I’m certain will allow for the best athletic experience. My choice was made easier by the fact that there are three or four players on the roster that had graduated from Rancocas Valley, all of whom I have played with. Other schools I had considered and were looking at me were Villanova, University of Delaware, and University of Massachusetts. In the end, I’m extremely happy with my decision, and I cannot wait to be part of Lafayette’s program.

You were named an NSCAA All-American this season, deservedly so. How does it feel to get that national recognition? And heading into Lafayette, what would you like to accomplish in your first season?

I was extremely honored to have received NSCAA All-American following my senior season at Rancocas Valley. It was a great feeling to know that the time and effort put in to improve my game and be the best player possible, finally paid off. It’s awesome to know that you’ve been recognized as a player for putting in all the work and stepping on the field and being the best player you can be day in and day out. As for Lafayette – I’m really looking forward to being part of a sound tradition and hopefully contributing to the team’s success and bid for a Patriot League title. It would be awesome to win the league in my first season, and knowing I played a part in that would be something special.

Have you been watching the development of the Philadelphia Union so far? What do you think their chances are in their inaugural season?

Yes, I’ve been following the Union and I’m pretty excited about their first season. I’ve heard and read a lot about how high ticket sales are, and that’s very promising for a new team. Hopefully, with all the momentum and hype, they won’t disappoint in their first season. Philadelphia is an atmosphere that demands success, but at the same time, they have passionate fans that are sure to usher in a great era of soccer in Philadelphia.

What would you say your strengths are as a player? Weaknesses?

I feel as though my strengths as a player are my quickness and speed, whether it is speed of play, getting to the ball, or just overall quickness. A couple other strengths would be my aggressiveness, competitiveness and desire to win, my vision of the field, and my knowledge of the game as a leader. Each of those attributes has helped me get to where I want to be today as a player. My weakness: I tend to expect every single player to play at the same level and at the same rate as myself.

Quick Kicks

Best Defender you have gone up against?

My own teammate in both high school and club, Terrell White.

What Major League Soccer player are you most excited to see come and play in Philadelphia?

Fredy Montero

There’s a 3 vs. 3 match coming up and you can pick anyone? Who are your teammates?

Two teammates: Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard

Favorite club team?

Manchester United

Who wins the Premiership this season?

The usual two-horse race: it’s between Manchester United and Chelsea. Hopefuly Man U can pull it out.

Best player in the country at your position? World?

Country: Midfielder Clint Dempsey; World: Center Midfielder Steven Gerrard or Xavi.

Best advice you have ever been given?

“Act like you’ve been there before.” and “Always look for opportunities to do great things.” – My Dad, Jim Golini

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  1. uberVU - social comments Says:

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by phillyunionASN: We started a new feature today, Future Focus, first up was Philly area native and HS All-American Alec Golini, http://bit.ly/aNnAFC

  2. Future Focus: Lower Merion’s best Tolani Ibikunle | American Soccer News Says:

    […] you like the Future Focus feature, check out our first installment with Rancocas Valley’s Alec Golini. Tagged as: Future Focus blog comments powered by Disqus var disqus_url = […]

  3. Okugo and Philly area stars to feature for the US U-20 squad | American Soccer News Says:

    […] (went to Rancocas Valley, youth hot spot in South Jersey, high school of the recently interviewed Alec Golini). Lancaster, PA native Zarek Valentin, a huge part of Akron’s big NCAA season, is also in the […]

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