ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.–When Anthony Wallace stepped onto the pitch last Saturday against University of South Florida, it was the first time he faced his former university since he played there in 2006. Although Wallace only played his freshman year at USF, he made an instant impact for the Bulls.
“I was excited to face USF for the first time since I left for MLS,” commented Wallace. “I still have a great relationship with the soccer team as I go train there during my offseasons. It’s great to train with current players but also with past players that come back during the break.”
The 5’11 midfielder spent his freshman year with the Bulls, before making the jump to Major League Soccer in 2007. After starting all 19 matches of USF’s 2006 season, he was picked by FC Dallas in the First Round of the 2007 MLS SuperDraft.
“I enjoyed my first preseason match with the Rowdies, especially since it was at USF,” said Wallace. “It was nice to finally play in Corbett Soccer Stadium as I remember when I was at USF it was all in the works. Overall, these matches are important to strengthen team chemistry and further get to know each other on the team.”
Since Wallace’s departure, USF has enjoyed seven straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, including two quarterfinal appearances in 2008 and 2011.
“Coach Kiefer has done a great job coaching the program,” explained Wallace. “He has kept the soccer team very consistent throughout the years which in turn has brought success to program. Last year I got to watch their performance in the American Athletic Conference Championship against UConn and I was very impressed. Hats off to the squad for having another great year.”
Many Bulls players have gone on to play professionally including former Tampa Bay Rowdies goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, who is now with MLS’ Real Salt Lake. Wallace spoke on how gratifying it is to see players who wore USF’s kit have successful playing careers.
“Since I left, I definitely keep track of who’s playing and where they move on to after graduation. USF has been able to produce some great players recently and it speaks highly of the program Kiefer and his coaching staff have created.”