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Lesmes balks at St. Peter’s, now Brooklyn-bound

David Lesmes was all set to play soccer at St. Peter’s College. But a funny thing happened on his way to Jersey City, N.J.

Carlo Acquista, a player the Jackson Heights native admired when he was growing up, got the head coaching job at St. Francis College in Brooklyn. The combination of being able to play for Acquista and a more attractive scholarship offer led to Lesmes’ quick change of mind.

“I was 95 percent sure I was going to play at St. Peter’s,” said Lesmes, 18. “Carlo offered me a good opportunity, a scholarship and after we talked about it, I thought it over and decided to go to St. Francis.”

For Acquista, Lesmes is the second major commitment he received in a week. Last week, Acquista’s younger brother, Alessandro Acquista, transferred from national powerhouse St. John’s University.

“I had less than five weeks to scrap around for players,” Acquista said. “And David is the perfect guy to pick up. He’s going to compliment the other guys on the team because he’s simple, an unsung hero type of player.”

Lesmes, who chose St. Francis over St. Peter’s, Stony Brook, Albany and St. John’s, played with his younger brother Richie Lesmes at national powerhouse St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, N.J. There David Lesmes scored three goals and had two assists in a defensive midfield role as St. Benedict’s went 27-0 and won the New Jersey Prep School Class A state championship.

David and Richie Lesmes both transferred from Monsignor McClancy to St. Benedict’s two years ago. But before he left, David Lesmes had the chance to play against his current teammate Alessandro Acquista when the Crusaders played Holy Cross. In fact, Lesmes was the one assigned to defend the Knights play maker.

“I knew if I went to St. Benedict’s I would play at a top level,” Lesmes said. “I learned a lot, the coaching was excellent, the training was on a professional level and I got a chance to play with kids from all around the world.”

“He was diligent, trained hard and was a good team player, a real pleasure to coach,” said St. Benedict’s head coach Rick Jacobs. “He was tenacious and tough enough to track the other team’s top player and once he won the ball, he played the ball smartly out and we started our attack. That is typically the role that he played.”

Lesmes said he first met Carlo Acquista when the Whitestone native was a high school standout at Holy Cross and played against his older brother George Lesmes, who followed in his father’s footsteps and played at Archbishop Molloy.

“He used to be a role model for me because I liked the way he played center midfield,” Lesmes said of his current coach. “Carlo was a role model then, but now that he’s given me this opportunity, I consider him a friend.”

Lesmes may still have been on his way to St. Peter’s if not for Jose Claros, his coach on the Brooklyn Knights Under-18 team.

Being close to the Lesmes, Claros knew David Lesmes was looking for a more attractive scholarship package and also knew Acquista, who just got the job at St. Francis College, was desperate for players.

“When I got the job at St. Francis, Jose would speak about David and his situation,” Acquista said. “I said if he needs help we may be able to work something out.”

Since he was a kid, David Lesmes has always played with his brother Richie Lesmes, who will be one of the top seniors in the city this year. Their closeness just may give Acquista the inside track to landing the younger Lesmes.

While Acquista can’t comment about a potential recruit, he did say he didn’t pick David Lesmes because of his last name.

“He’s going to be a type of player we’re going to go to for some leadership in a few years,” Acquista said. “He’s an unselfish player, he does for the team and not for himself.”

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

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