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Rising Star: Toronto's Sam Cronin
by Bryan Alvarez, September 16th, 2009 7AM



[MLS] In his rookie year, Sam Cronin has become a significant contributor in the midfield for Toronto FC. His efforts were rewarded this summer as Cronin joined the U.S. national team for the Gold Cup. Now, he turns his attention to helping Toronto FC reach the playoffs for the first time in team history. Get to know the 22-year-old in this profile by Soccer America's Bryan Alvarez that covers on and off-field experiences.

(Toronto FC)


POSITION: Midfielder
AGE: 22
HOMETOWN: Winston-Salem, N.C.
MLS CLUB: Toronto FC
YOUTH CLUB: Greensboro Soccer Club
COLLEGE: Wake Forest

STARTING OUT: I had three older brothers who played soccer. My dad was their rec coach at the time. I followed them around and I enjoyed it. It just took off from there.
EARLY SOCCER MEMORY: I played a couple years up on my brother's team. I'm not even sure if that's legal. But, that year, we went undefeated.
FIRST CLEATS: Basic, bottom-of-the-line cleats. They were probably hand-me-downs that were a couple sizes too big.

OTHER SPORTS: It's always been soccer. I did run track to keep busy and stay in shape. But, for the most part, it's been full on soccer for me.
FAVORITE TEAMS: I'm not a huge fan of sports teams. I've always enjoyed watching Arsenal. Outside of soccer, I guess I'd have to say the Boston Red Sox because my dad's family is from Boston.
FAVORITE MOVIES: "Braveheart" and "Wedding Crashers."
FAVORITE ACTRESS: Jennifer Anniston.
FAVORITE TV SHOW: "Entourage."

LIVING SITUATION: I have an apartment in downtown Toronto. I'm living with my girlfriend.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Our class is fortunate. We have a number of guys that are contributing right away. In D.C., you have [Chris] Pontius. In Seattle, you have [Steve] Zakuani. In Toronto, Stefan [Frei] is doing well. We'll have to see who wins. There are still important games to play.
MLS EXPERIENCE: So far, it's been good. The team has done well. We're in our third year in the league and we're an up-and-coming club. It's cool to be a part of it. It's imperative that we make the playoffs this year.

COLLEGE: I had a great four years at Wake Forest. We made it to the College Cup every year but my freshman year. We won the National Championship in 2007. We had good team success and individuals did well. Marcus Tracy was the program's first Hermann Trophy winner. It was an exciting time to be in the program.
GOLD CUP: It was a great experience. It was an exciting time to be with the team coming off of the Confederations Cup. We had a bunch of news guys and we pulled it together quickly. We had a disappointing result in the final vs. Mexico. Aside from 20 minutes of that game, we had a great tournament.

MOST INFLUENTIAL COACH: Jay Vidovich from Wake Forest. In the past four years, I've improved more as a player than in my whole life. I am thankful to him for the work he put in. I'd say Carl Fleming from Greensboro was also influential. He's super passionate, knowledgeable and got me ready for ACC soccer.
MEMORABLE COACHING ADVICE (from youth coach): Be patient. Take every day for what it's worth. Keep improving as a player. Put the work in today and you'll be successful tomorrow.

HOBBIES: I'm still getting acclimated to Toronto. In the future, I'll probably start playing golf. I like to relax talk with my friends.
MUSIC: I listen to a little bit of everything. I like country, rock n' roll and reggae.
READING: I like to keep up on current events.
VACATION: I like going to the beaches in North Carolina. I've also wanted to go to the Maldives.
FAMOUS PEOPLE YOU'D INVITE TO DINNER: President Barack Obama and Steven Gerrard.


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