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A Red Storm reunion

By Dylan Butler

When he made his college choice two years ago, Alessandro Acquista decided to follow in his brother Carlo’s footsteps and hoped he too could win an NCAA soccer...

Former St. John’s soccer standouts back together in professional ranks

By Dylan Butler

When he made his college choice two years ago, Alessandro Acquista decided to follow in his brother Carlo’s footsteps and hoped he too could win an NCAA soccer national championship at St. John’s University.

The Red Storm went to the Final Four last year for the first time since winning the title in 1996 when Carlo Acquista was a freshman, but Alessandro Acquista saw limited playing time.

A year later Alessandro Acquista is again following his brother, this time to St. Francis College.

A little less than a month since being named Terriers head coach, Carlo Acquista received his first major commitment when Alessandro Acquista decided to transfer from St. John’s to St. Francis College last Thursday.

And since Red Storm head coach Dave Masur released Alessandro Acquista, the Whitestone native will be available to play for his brother right away, instead of having to sit for a year.

“At first I didn’t think about it,” Alessandro Acquista said about playing for his brother. “But then I thought it would be a better opportunity for me to prove myself. I love St. John’s but I wanted to go somewhere where I can make a name for myself and hopefully the school.”

Like Carlo, Alessandro Acquista had a stellar high school career at Holy Cross. He had 13 goals and eight assists as one of the top seniors in the city, helping lead the Knights to a city and state championship in 2000.

Alessandro Acquista whittled his college list down to three, with St. John’s edging out Hofstra and Division III Oneonta, where his oldest brother, Joe, played soccer.

St. Francis College, then coached by Sam Carrington, who took the head coaching position at Quinnipiac, was never in the mix.

Like eight players before him, Acquista went from Holy Cross to St. John’s and saw quality playing time at the beginning of the season.

But as the Red Storm got closer and closer to its first trip back to the Final Four since 1996, Acquista saw less and less playing time. Of St. John’s 23 games, Acquista played in 11 — starting one — with one assist.

“When you go to a program like St. John’s in the Big East, which is probably the premier conference in the entire country, it’s not easy to step in as a freshman and be automatic,” Masur said. “Alessandro was trying to find his way at St. John’s and he saw an opportunity to join his brother and maybe be a marquee player for an up-and-coming program. He can be a fabulous player there and be a key cog for St. Francis for the next three years.”

This is not the first time Carlo Acquista has coached his brother. He coached him on the East Meadows Juventus club team and also was an assistant for the Brooklyn Knights of the Premier Development League, where Alessandro Acquista was a starting midfielder this summer.

“I pretty much know his philosophy, what he expects of his players, not only of me but the whole team,” said Alessandro Acquista, who turned 19 Monday. “He might be harder on me because he’s my brother. He’ll be on me more because I’m around him a lot; I’m closer to him than any other college coach.”

For Carlo Acquista, who has increased his roster from 13 to 17 in less than a month, getting a player of his brother’s ability is a major coup and should greatly improve the Terriers.

“He brings a little calm and a little confidence, which the team lacks a bit,” Carlo Acquista said. “He brings an understanding about college soccer and hopefully he can come in and become one of the leaders on the team with his playing ability.”

Carlo Acquista hopes the addition of his brother is just the first of many players from the CHSAA who will choose to play soccer at St. Francis College.

“What this does for St. Francis College is open up the doors to other local kids,” he said. “I’m grateful and happy he came over because we have to tap into local players, like him, so we can compete for the Northeast Conference championship, hopefully [make] the NCAA tournament and put St. Francis College on the map.”

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

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