A Morristown High School grad and township native is getting a shot at soccer glory.
Connor Lade, currently a defender/midfielder with the New York Red Bulls soccer team is one of 25 players reporting to the U.S. Men's National Team January camp Monday at the National Training Center in Carson, CA.
The team will train together until Jan. 27, leading up to their first match of 2013, against Canada on Jan. 29. The match is the only game scheduled prior to the start of the Final Round of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which begins for the United States on Feb. 6 against Honduras in San Pedro Sula.
Lade, 23, in a New York Red Bulls interview called the call from U.S. Men's National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann prior to the holidays, "a very nice, early Christmas gift.
"That’s something I’ve dreamt of my whole life and to finally get word of that, it was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in my life," Lade said in the interview. "After that, you have to get to work. You can’t sit back and take a break."
In a press release issued Monday, Lade added that, "I kind of had to pinch myself picking up that call, because [Klinsmann] is such a legend and he’s done great things for the national team and he's taking them in the right direction. It’s just very exciting and I’m really looking forward to getting in camp and hopefully showing well for myself and the club and just try to make an impact on them for the future."
This is Lade's first senior team call up, following his debut professional season, playing in 26 games (22 starts). The 23-year-old was signed by New York as a "Home Grown Player" on Dec. 5, and also started the team’s two playoff games last year.
Besides his MHS soccer career, Lade made 81 appearances over four years with St. John’s University, and was a member of the Red Bulls Academy, joining the program in December 2007.