Trinity menâ€™s soccer senior goalkeeper Matt Cardone is participating in the new Major League Soccer club Orlando Cityâ€™s preseason training camp.
The Orlando City Lions are joining the MLS from the USL Pro League, where they competed from 2010-2014. One of the teamâ€™s biggest pick-ups was Brazilian former FIFA World Player of the Year Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, better known as Kaka.
Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath invited Cardone to the preseason camp after Â Cardone had a successful 2014 season.
Trinityâ€™s senior goalkeeper was elected to the Menâ€™s Division III All-America First Team this year. It was his second selection in his four years at Trinity. Cardone has also been named to the All-Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Team every year he played for the Tigers.
During his junior year of high school, Cardone experienced a season-ending injury that took him off the radar of some Division I coaches.
McGinlay recognized the potential in Cardone and was able to convince him to compete at Trinity, where he developed over four years.
â€œItâ€™s gratifying; Matt was a local kid that Iâ€™ve known since he was 15. Â He was a two-time All-American, a great student and the captain of the team his junior and senior year, so the logical next step was to push for a professional bid,â€ said head coach Paul McGinlay.
Like McGinlay, assistant Â coach C.H. Farmer also recognized the opportunity for both Cardone and the Trinity Menâ€™s Soccer Program.
â€œIt speaks to the level of the types of players we try to bring in to Trinity,â€ Farmer said. â€œWe try to bring the best people and players into our program that we can. Matt absolutely represents everything that we want to be as a program.â€
In the 2014 season, Cardone posted 79 saves, only allowing 14 goals in his 25 games. Â With a save percentage of 0.85, Cardone ranked 32nd of 200 players in the NCAA. Â His goals-against average of 0.63 also earned him an impressive ranking of 31st.
With a team goals against average of 0.65, the Tigers ranked 25th in the nation.
In Cardoneâ€™s senior year, Trinity posted a school record-tying 24 wins to finish the season 24-2-0 overall. Their record earned the Tigers second in Division III.
The team also won a third-straight SCAC Championship, bringing the program total to 17 SCAC Titles. The Tigers then advanced to the NCAA Playoffs for the 13th consecutive time and made it to the quarterfinals in back-to-back years.
â€œGood things tend to happen to good people, and itâ€™s the same thing with athletics,â€ McGinlay said. â€œMatt is not only a good person, but he is also a good player. Heâ€™s been Trinityâ€™s number one for four years. It gives encouragement for the players that heâ€™s leaving behind, that one minute heâ€™s playing with us and the next heâ€™s playing alongside the former best player in the world.â€
McGinlay understands how important the positive effect that Cardone has had, and continues to have, on the current Tiger soccer players.
â€œItâ€™s a dream come true to even have this opportunity and Iâ€™m doing my best to take advantage of it.â€ Cardone said. â€œWe all have obstacles to overcome and working through my injury was a personal victory.â€