Red Nation Online recently had the opportunity to speak with Sam Cronin, who was a standout performer in his MLS rookie season with Toronto FC last year. Cronin was picked 2nd overall by Toronto FC in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft and was one of Toronto's most consistent performers in his first professional season. He was a leading contender for the 2009 MLS Rookie of the Year Award and looks to be a key component of new Toronto Head Coach Preki's squad in 2010.
Cronin was born in Atlanta, Georgia and attended Mount Tabor High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where he moved with his family in 1999. He comes from an athletic family. His father Barry was a star football and baseball player at Harvard, his eldest brother McNeil played four years of college soccer at Furman University and his older brothers Hugh and Colin played soccer and ran cross-country respectively at North Carolina State University. Cronin played college soccer at Wake Forest University, scoring ten goals in twenty-four appearances in 2008. He was also one of three finalists for the 2008 Hermann Trophy, an award given to the best Division I college soccer player. After being drafted, Sam made his professional debut on March 21st 2009 in Toronto's first game of the 2009 MLS season against the Kansas City Wizards. He scored his first professional goal on June 13, 2009 against the New York Red Bulls. In June 2009, he received his first call-up by the U.S. Men's National team at the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
To get a better understanding of Sam's career and development, we were fortunate to speak with Jay Vidovich, his former coach at Wake Forest University. At Wake Forest, Cronin featured as a midfielder and captained the team in his final year. He started a school record 98 games at Wake Forest and finished his college career with 17 goals and 19 assists. In Cronin's third season, Wake was the top team in the nation, defeating Ohio State in the NCAA College Cup.
Red Nation Online and Sam discuss his rookie season with Toronto FC, his college career at Wake Forest University and his thoughts on TFC's upcoming season.
About Jay Vidovich
Jay Vidovich is one of the top college soccer coaches in the United States and was the 2007 and 2008 National Coach of the Year. He has developed the Wake Forest program into one of the most dominant in college soccer, leading the team to three straight College Cups, including the first national championship in program history in 2007.