Passion. Initiative. Love of learning. Those are the qualities of a student who stands out among his peers and, if you ask Bruno Ferreira, the Head Coach of the New Jersey men's soccer team, those are the qualities that Berkeley College student Robert Parker of Woodbridge, NJ, possesses.
"Robert is a hard worker in academics with a 3.96 GPA," said Coach Ferreira. "He also has been an amazing goaltender for our team during his tenure at the college. He is an exceptional athlete, but he's also an exceptional student."
Parker was named United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Division II Men's Soccer Student-Athlete of the Year last November. The emphasis of the award is on academic and community involvement, beyond athletic performance. One player is selected as the award recipient each year in each USCAA sport and division.
"Robert excels on the field," said Coach Ferreira. "In soccer, the best goaltenders, like Robert, make a lot of moves and last-minute decisions while being aware of other players, and keeping their eyes fixed on the ball." On the field, Mr. Parker logged over 1,180 minutes this past season, and he made 82 saves while posting a goals against average of 2.06.
Parker also is well rounded according to Coach Ferreira. Off the field, he has orchestrated toy drives and run tournaments at Old Bridge High School, Old Bridge, NJ. He also has volunteered at the Senior Olympics. He will graduate Berkeley College in May 2019 with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration – Management. He is employed as an Inside Sales Representative at the New York Red Bulls, an American professional soccer club in Harrison, NJ.
The former netminder of the New Jersey men's soccer team recently shared his experiences and his plans for the future in a short question-and-answer session:
Q: What are your takeaways from being a student-athlete at Berkeley College? How has it changed you?
A: I enjoy meeting new people. Sports are a great way of making friendships. And there's nothing like the satisfaction you get when you put in the work and everything comes together.
Q: What is the best part of being a member of the soccer team?
A: The best part is the family culture that surrounds the team and being able to compete with lifelong friends.
Q: What is your message to young players joining the team next season?
A: I always say your individual performance doesn't outweigh the importance of team chemistry. Always stick with one another. Remember it's a team.
Q: What is your goal following graduation?
A: I plan to attend Seton Hall University to study for a Master's in Sports Management.