Connor Lade, a Morris United graduate now more widely known as a defender for the New York Red Bulls, has delighted his former trainers and teammates after he was called up to the U.S. Men's National Team by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann this month.
Earning his first senior team call up, the Morristown native comes off the back of his first professional season, where he played in 26 games with 22 starts, notching three assists as a midfielder and defender in the process. Now 23, Lade also played a major part in the team's two playoff games last year.
"I kind of had to pinch myself picking up that call, because (Coach Klinsmann) is such a legend and he's done great things for the national team and he's taking them in the right direction,” Lade said. “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."
Len Weber, who coached Connor with Morris United Soccer Club, reminisced about the young player's early performances. "There are several things that stand out in my mind when I think about a young Connor Lade. He possesses a couple of great natural gifts: an outstanding first step and an ability to read the game. These two attributes made him a natural marking back. But you can't get called up to the U.S. National Team with talent alone. You have to have a passion for the game and Connor has always had it."
Sean Sweeney, director of club operations at Morris United/STA, congratulated the team's graduate. "Connor has demonstrated to everyone involved in soccer that with hard work, determination and belief, it's possible to reach the highest levels in the sport. His commitment to the game proves that others at our club but can and will go on to become celebrated players."
Lade and the rest of the 25-man squad have reported to the National Training Center in Carson, CA to train in preparation for the international friendly against Canada at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, TX on January 29th at 9:00 PM ET.
Photo Credit: New York Red Bulls