Tag Archive | "Luke Sassano"

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'Attitude has been great'

Posted on 10 February 2010 by ASN Staff

It’s only been three weeks but so far this preseason has definitely been exciting.

We had our first 14 days of camp in the beautiful soccer specific resort in La Manga, Spain, where we played a couple of European teams. For me I was happy to extend the good weather from California (home) before getting completely situated in the New York winter.

Although the tapas and great weather was some of what we were looking forward to, the main focus was of course on the field and on the business of improving each and every day as we begin the preparations that will be the base for the rest of the year. The attitude has been great so far. Priorities are mostly to sure everyone is staying healthy and getting fit for the nine month season ahead.

So far results have been quite positive, as well as our quality of play on the field. There’s a definite excitement in the air as guys can’t wait for the first game against Santos that we play at Red Bull Arena. For now we have one more week at MSU before we head to Orlando for two weeks to continue preseason. While we’re down there we’ll be scrimmaging against some other MLS teams. I’ll have an update on which ones after we arrive.

In Spain we had some friendly poker games. My luck started off great, winning two of three tournaments, then the rook or the “ringer” as I call him (Austin da Luz), came in and swept four tourneys in a row. So just a heads up if you ever see him at a poker table; steer clear. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Besides the competition on the poker table, we’ve added some real quality and exciting players to the team that will help in our quest to return to the MLS Cup 2010. Although its’ early in the preseason process, I can tell that we’ve made strides not only on the field as a team, but at becoming a tight knit group off of it. We’ll continue to work though. Every day is another opportunity to improve.

Questions or thoughts? Let me know, I’d be happy to answer anything soccer or not.
–LSass.

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The MLS Combine and SuperDraft experience from one who was there

Posted on 11 January 2010 by ASN Staff

New York Red Bulls midfielder Luke Sassano completed his second season with the organization in 2009. In his first guest column he got us caught up on what he had been doing since the team’s last game of the season. In this, his second piece, he relates his own experience from Major League Soccer’s Combine and SuperDraft.

Luke Sassano

The combine is underway and SuperDraft will be held this Thursday in Philadelphia. By now we all know who has been called to the combine and who has not. For those who aren’t there: no worries, you can still play professionally. There are still many opportunities. I know the exact feeling. I was a 50/50 shot to make the combine as a senior and by the luck of the draw I did. I was excited but also prepared mentally had I not made the list.

The combine was a great experience, getting to play with the top players in the nation. However my main issue with the combine is that it is held over a month after the final college game. That’s a lot of time, if you ask me. to be waiting around. I remember going into the combine, as fit as i felt, my soccer skills simply weren’t as sharp. I think the combine should be two weeks after the final game, before the holidays so players are still on top of their games and coaches can make a more realistic assessment of the talent.

Luckily coach [Juan Carlos] Osorio and [assistant coach Richie] Williams saw something that they liked in me and two weeks later I was drafted in the third round, number 32 overall, in the 2008 SuperDraft. A feeling I will remember for the rest of my life is when I got the phone call from Jeff Agoos telling me I was going to be a New York Red Bull. At that moment the past 18 years of my dedication, commitment and hard work had finally paid off. I felt it vindicated all my past coaches, players, friends and family who had provided me so many opportunities and sacrificed so much just so I could have a chance to fulfill my dream. Of course I was also grateful to the Red Bull coaching staff for taking a chance on me. My thoughts are that luck is when skill, hard work and determination meet opportunity. For everyone involved whether it be soccer, another sport, of life in general, don’t be afraid to fail no matter what the circumstances. Sail. Dream. Discover.

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The offseason thus far

Posted on 03 January 2010 by ASN Staff

New York Red Bulls midfielder Luke Sassano completed his second season with the organization in 2009. It was, in his own words (which follow below) a disappointing campaign. An eternal optimist (our label, not his) the UC-Berkeley graduate nevertheless took several initiatives to improve himself on the pitch and off it. To the latter end, he began to work with CHF International, the international development and humanitarian assistance organization. The partnership is his part of Athletes for Hope’s First Annual Who Gives! Racing for a Cause campaign.

ASN spoke with the 24-year old for our short piece that profiled his charitable work and found him not only friendly and outspoken, but surprisingly (due to his insistence of being “a math and sciences guy”) a very good writer. This led us to ask him to contribute as a guest columnist, and he agreed. In this first piece Luke gets us caught up on what he’s been doing since the team’s last game of the season. A second piece, on the Major League Soccer SuperDraft, is in the works. We hope to make this a regularly-occurring feature thereafter. If anybody has any idea for a name (“Sassano’s Shout-Outs”? “Sassano’s Soap Box”? “Luke Lips”? Uh, maybe not) post them in the comment area below. We can put them up for a vote later.

Before you ask, Luke says he is as much in the dark about the identity of the next Red Bulls coach as the rest of us. But it’s a great read anyway and we are grateful for his contribution. Read on:

Luke Sassano ©ASN/Julia Harper

The new year agenda is now beginning to gain steam. A chance for a blank slate. I, for one, am excited. We have a new place to call home with the opening of Red Bull Arena, a place that will really put soccer on the map in the New York/New Jersey area. I’m personally looking forward to being a part of the new era in Red Bulls soccer and am excited for our loyal fans who have waited over 10 years to get a soccer specific stadium–really 30 years if you go back to the New York Cosmos and the (first) NASL. I’m also looking forward to demonstrating how much we’ve learned from our mistakes last year. I want to go out and prove that 2009 does not define us as a team and that it was merely a fluke. As a team and an organization we have learned a lot from the ups and downs of this last year. It was frustrating for everyone involved, especially our fans. I can’t wait for that first game on grass and to finally to be off of the cement-like turf at Giants Stadium.

Although last season didn’t go as planned for me personally or for our organization, there were many things to learn that ultimateley will help us in our quest for the MLS Cup. On one of the positive notes, after the season, Jeremy Hall, Nick Zimmerman (who is now with Philly), and myself were able to visit our sister team in Salzburg to train for three weeks. It was a great experience. We got to see first hand how different the level and style of play is over there and witness the organization’s overall professionalism and commitment to achieving success. We trained with the reserves team, which is mostly made up of players about our age, and had the opportunity to play the first team in a friendly scrimmage. What really stood out to me was how committed the players were. Most, if not all the players on the reserve team had never gone to college. To me the mentaliity in Europe seemed that either you become a professional footballer at a young age or you go to a university–there is no in between. Another thing I noticed is how meticulous the practices are and how intricately-woven the organization is from top to bottom. And lastly, the facilities were top notch. I thought our facilities at Montclair State were the best I had ever seen for a professional soccer training ground, but these facilities in Austria really were a sight.

Besides playing soccer I also had a chance to see the sights. Austria is a beautiful country and Salzburg, based at the foot of the Alps, is incredibly picturesque. My time in Austria was a great learning experience and I hope to use that as a springboard into our preseason.

So the offseason has been very busy and the hard work as already begun. We report in mid-January for training camp where we get to meet our new sporting director as well as our new coach. I’m not sure what the preseason schedule holds for us, but i know it’s going to be exciting as well as challenging. We know we have a lot of work ahead, all of which starts with establishing the proper foundation in preseason.

The opening of Red Bull Arena I believe will be a turning point in the history soccer in this country. I also think the level of investment in soccer in the U.S. will put the MLS on the map to a worldwide audience. I couldn’t be any more excited or happy to have the opportunity to be a part of this time in New York Red Bull History. Until next time.

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Luke Sassano gets involved in a good cause

Posted on 21 December 2009 by ASN Staff

‘Twas the week before Christmas,
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a mouse…

Luke Sassano ©ASN/Julia Harper

…or (red) bull for that matter. Since Erik Soler was introduced as New York Red Bulls general manager a few weeks ago, there has been nary a peep from the team. Its coaching search, presumably, remains ongoing, with little chance one will be announced before new year’s.

This would be a good a time as any to inform you about some good works a member of the team is doing this holiday season. Midfielder Luke Sassano has taken it on himself to work with CHF International, the international development and humanitarian assistance organization. The partnership is part of Athletes for Hope’s First Annual Who Gives! Racing for a Cause campaign, which began last Thursday and runs through early January 2010.

Sassano will help to raise support for one of CHF’s many programs in Rwanda, specifically focused on providing educational support for more than 45,000 orphaned and vulnerable children.

“I am very excited and honored to be working with CHF International and Athletes for Hope on the Racing for a Cause campaign,” Sassano said. “Working with CHF really appealed to me personally because of the many youth projects they have around the world. The initiative to get Rwandan child-headed households and orphans into local schools can help to ensure that their lives, which have been affected by genocide and HIV, can turn in a positive direction.”

It’s a great program and obviously Sassano can use all the help he can get. To donate even a small amount head to his GlobalGiving.org page. It only takes a minute but as the page demonstrates, even a small donation can make a very large difference.

Happy holidays from ASN.

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Red Bulls fall five minutes short of upset

Posted on 01 November 2008 by ASN Staff

A makeshift New York Red Bulls starting lineup that did not include its biggest mid-season acquisitions almost pulled off a massive upset of defending MLS champion Houston Dynamo at Giants Stadium Saturday afternoon.

But after trailing for nearly the entire second half, Kei Kamara scored the 1-1 equalizer for Houston in the 85th minute off a pass from Stuart Holden. Ironically, both Holden and Kamara were late substitutions by Houston head coach Greg Kinnear. Juan Pablo Angel put the Red Bulls up in the 48th minute on a pass from John Wolyniec–another surprise starter for New York.

Luke Sassano, one of several surprise starters

After a lackluster (to put it mildly) showing in the team’s season finale at Chicago, New York head coach Juan Carlos Osorio went with a starting 11 that included two rookies (Diego Jimenez, Luke Sassano) and three second-year players (Sinisa Ubiparipovic, Andrew Boyens, Danny Cepero) who had never started a playoff game. The move nearly worked, as Red Bull played their best game in at least a month, though New York fans will likely be second-guessing Osorio for only using one substitution (Juan Pietravallo, who replaced Ubiparipovic around minute 80).

“I think we probably did just enough to win the game today,” said Osorio in the postgame press conference. “Very proud of the boys today. In the end I think there more positives than negatives from this game.”

Asked about the surprising starting lineup, Osorio said it was largely due to individual player performance in the Chicago game. “There were players not doing their jobs and I though that was undisciplined so I took them out of the starting line. Simple as that.” Though he did not mention Gabriel Cichero or Juan Pietravallo by name, Osorio praised the players he chose to replace them in the starting lineup. “I’m very pleased today with Luke Sassano’s job and Sinisa’s job,” he said.

Sassano said he found out early in the week about his start and was tasked mainly with holding the midfield and limiting Dwayne DeRosario’s chances. “Obviously a very good player,” Sassano said of the Canadian international. “I just tried to stay with him and make sure I could eliminate as many touches as he gets on the ball…knock him around a little bit.”

A tightly-contested and dirty first half at first brought to mind the scoreless Thursday night snooze fest between New England and Chicago. But the game came alive after a vicious foul by Nate Jaqua on Andrew Boyens. The foul, which went unpunished by referee Kevin Stott, led to a brief scuffle at midfield as players pushed and shoved at each other. Boyens lay motionless on the turf for several minutes but did not need to leave the game.

The New Zealander did not appear to have any hard feelings after the game. “I don’t think he was meaning to do anything,” Boyens said of Jaqua’s play. “When there’s something that tough there’s always a little bit of talk afterwards.”

For now the Red Bulls can take comfort in their solid performance before the teams meet again at Houston’s Robertson Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 9. “Nobody gave anything for our chances after the Chicago performance and I think we bounced back,” said Dave van den Bergh. “I thought there was a team out there that fought for every ball and fought for each other and I think that was the biggest difference.”

Osorio agreed. “If we keep this team spirit and we take this competitiveness to their place then we have a chance,” he said.

Match Facts

Houston Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls
2008 MLS Playoffs, First Round, first leg
November 01, 2008 — Giants Stadium

Scoring Summary:
NY — Juan Pablo Angel 1 (John Wolyniec 1) 48
HOU — Kei Kamara 1 (Stuart Holden 1) 85

Houston Dynamo — Pat Onstad, Richard Mulrooney, Bobby Boswell, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett, Brian Mullan (Stuart Holden 71), Ricardo Clark, Dwayne De Rosario (Geoff Cameron 83), Brad Davis, Nate Jaqua (Kei Kamara 66), Brian Ching.

Substitutes Not Used: Corey Ashe, Tony Caig, Patrick Ianni, Craig Waibel

New York Red Bulls — Danny Cepero, Andrew Boyens, Chris Leitch, Kevin Goldthwaite, Diego Jimenez, Dane Richards, Luke Sassano, Sinisa Ubiparipovic (Juan Pietravallo 77), Dave van den Bergh, John Wolyniec, Juan Pablo Angel.
Substitutes Not Used: Terry Boss, Gabriel Cichero, Macoumba Kandji, Gordon Kljestan, Jorge Rojas, David Roth

Misconduct Summary:
NY — Dane Richards (caution; Reckless Foul) 29
HOU — Brian Mullan (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 29
NY — Juan Pablo Angel (caution; Reckless Foul) 37

Referee: Kevin Stott
Referee’s Assistants: Thomas Supple; Rob Fereday
4th official: Michael Kennedy
Time of game: 1:50
Attendance: 11,578
Weather: Cloudy -and- 63 degrees

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Rookie six pack ink official contracts

Posted on 04 April 2008 by ASN Staff

Red Bull New York announced that defender Eric Brunner, midfielder/defender Luke Sassano, midfielders David Roth and Michael Palacio and forwards Chris Megaloudis and Ricky Schramm have signed contracts to play with the team. All six players will be available for selection for the Red Bulls’ season and home opener against the Columbus Crew tomorrow evening at 7:30 PM ET at Giants Stadium (TV: Fox Soccer Channel, Spanish Radio: WADO 1280).

Brunner was the Red Bulls’ second round selection (16th overall) out of Ohio State University. The 6-4, 170-pound defender from Dublin, OH, has earned a number of accolades during his college career. The 2008 adidas/MLS Combine MVP in January, Brunner was a NSCAA All-American and All-Region First Team selection in 2007 after scoring six goals and starting in all 26 games he played.

Sassano, selected in the third round (33rd overall) of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft, was the team captain for UC-Berkeley in 2007, an All Pac-10 Honorable Mention in 2005 and a Pac-10 All-Academic Honorable Mention in 2007. Featuring in a total of 64 games (56 starts), the Orinda, CA native tallied a total of four goals and 19 assists during his four-year career for the Golden Bears.

Hailing from St. Louis, Mo., Roth, chosen in the fourth round (44th overall) of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft from Northwestern University, was a NSCAA All-American Second Team selection (2007) and a two-time NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region First Team pick (2006-07). The 5-8, 138 pound midfielder and two-time All-Big Ten First Team member (2006-07) has scored 19 goals and 32 assists in 83 games played over his four years at Northwestern.

Palacio was selected in the second round (21st overall) in the 2008 MLS Supplemental Draft. He was a three-time selection on the America East First Team and was named to the All-Northeast region second team in his junior season. In 2007, the Long Beach, NY, product scored four goals and six assists for the Seawolves as they earned a 9-7-3 record. He is Stony Brook’s all-time leader in assists.

Megaloudis joined the Red Bulls on trial in January 2008. The 24-year-old from Queens, NY and Puerto Rican International attending Stony Brook University from 2004-05 before joining the Long Island Rough Riders of the Premier Development League in 2006. Megaloudis has also enjoyed a stint with the Westchester Flames. He scored his first international goal for Puerto Rico on Jan. 26, 2008 against Trinidad and Tobago.

Schramm, 22, was also invited to Red Bulls camp in January. The former Georgetown University standout started in two games for the Red Bulls reserves last year, scoring two goals. Prior to that, Schramm enjoyed a stint with the Richmond Kickers of the United Soccer Leagues Second Division in 2007. He was originally drafted by D.C. United in the third round (37th overall) of the 2007 MLS SuperDraft before being waived.

Fact File

#23 Eric Brunner
Height: 6-4
Weight: 170
DOB: Feb. 12, 1986 in Dublin, OH
Previous Club/College: Ohio State University
Hometown: Dublin, OH

#32 Luke Sassano
Height: 6-0
Weight: 170
DOB: Oct. 14, 1985 in Orinda, CA
Previous Club/College: University of California-Berkeley
Hometown: Orinda, CA

#5 David Roth
Height: 5-8
Weight: 138
DOB: Dec. 4, 1985 in St. Louis, MO
Previous Club/College: Northwestern University
Hometown: St. Louis, MO

#21 Michael Palacio
Height: 6-1
Weight: 175
DOB: Aug. 29, 1986 in Long Beach, NY
Previous Club/College: Stony Brook University
Hometown: Long Beach, NY

#26 Chris Megaloudis
Height: 6-0
Weight: 185
DOB: May 14, 1984 in New York, NY
Previous Club/College: Long Island Rough Riders (PDL)
Hometown: Queens, NY

#14 Ricky Schramm
Height: 5-11
Weight: 165
DOB: Oct. 26, 1985 in Elmhurst, NY
Previous Club/College: D.C. United
Hometown: Eastchester, NY

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Red Bulls Draft Defense-ively

Posted on 18 January 2008 by Nathaniel E. Baker

The New York Red Bulls selected two Ohio-born defenders with their first two picks in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft. Dublin, Ohio native Eric Brunner was taken with the second pick in the second round (16th overall) and Huber Heights, Ohio-native Luke Sassano was drafted out of the University of California with the fourth pick of the third round (32nd overall).

Brunner is a central defender who is listed at 6’4. He played four years in college, the first at the University of Maryland. The soon-to-be 22-year old was OSU’s captain this year and even scored six goals in 26 starts. He’s apparently pretty dangerous on set pieces; Mike Lewis just informed me he scored four times off corners last season. This implies he is good in the air, which is an area where this team has been particularly deficient, especially defensively (as for offensively, think about this kid and Jozy together on corners). Jeff Agoos said he had Brunner “rated right up there” with the best defenders in the draft and that he could start this year. Apparently the team was surprised Brunner was still around and had considered trading up to take him. As a side note: Brunner has never been to New York City (or even New Jersey).

As for Sassano, he is a pretty big kid in his own right (6’1, 170) and like Brunner was captain of his college team. He played in midfield his freshman and sophomore year. Not sure what Red Bulls’ plans are for him. He’s not here in Baltimore.

Neither is David Roth, the team’s third and final pick from Northwestern University. Roth (no, his middle name is not Lee) is a midfielder who was a prolific goalscorer in four years as a starter for the Wildcats: 81 goals in 83 games. The St. Louis native was a second team all America this season.

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