SJU grads making a splash across the Pond

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Brent Sancho probably couldn’t have taken a more indirect route from St. John’s to Scotland, but after stints in Finland, Charleston, S.C. and Portland, Ore., the Trinidad international signed with Dundee of the Scottish Premier League late last month.

“It’s a dream come true. I’ve played in the U.S. — college and the A-League — but it’s not the same as playing in Europe,” Sancho said. “I’m excited about going there and I’ve worked very hard in my career to get there.”

Sancho is the latest Red Storm export to play soccer in Europe, joining former college roommate Stefani Miglioranzi and Adam Maurer as former St. John’s standouts playing abroad.

After initial problems obtaining a work permit — the Scottish Football Association originally denied the 26-year-old because he hasn’t played in 75 percent of his county’s international games — Sancho was granted a permit after an appeal and signed a two-year contract with Dundee July 29.

“The normal perception is that two teams (Rangers and Celtic) dominate the league, but Dundee is coming off a very good season,” said Sancho, a former captain of the Trinidad national team. “They went to the Scottish Cup championship (losing to Rangers, 1-0), and they went on a pretty impressive run after the winter break. I think they have the potential to do pretty well.”

It was during Dundee’s winter break that Sancho was first noticed by manager Jim Duffy, who brought his club to Trinidad for winter break training. And it appears Sancho has an excellent chance to break the starting lineup at Dens Park when the season begins this month.

After helping lead St. John’s to the 1996 NCAA national championship, Sancho played with Finnish side Mypa 47 before returning to the United States to compete in the A-League for the Charleston Battery and most recently for the Portland Timbers.

Another member of the national championship team, Stefani Miglioranzi, is about to embark on his second season with Swindon Town in the English second division.

Miglioranzi, a talented midfielder who is a regular fixture in Swindon’s starting lineup, originally went oversees and tried out for Premiership team Everton, but then signed with first-division side Portsmouth.

After Miglioranzi made a couple of quality appearances, the club wanted to extend his contract but the American, who also has a Brazilian and Italian passport, didn’t agree to a new two-year deal just months into a 12-month contact.

Ironically, Portsmouth was promoted into the English Premier League for this season, but Miglioranzi, who was let go after concerns over a knee injury, has no regrets.

“I took the view that I had a year left to run, and there was no necessity to make a hasty decision about my future,” Miglioranzi told reporters. “There wasn’t a wrong decision to make. If I’d stayed I would have been happy, but I’m happy now as I love it at Swindon.”

Rounding out the group is Adam Maurer, a defender who played one season at St. John’s after transferring from Fresno State and is now playing in Germany.

When the Regionalliga (German third division) season begins, there is a good possibility Maurer will be in the starting 11 for Wattenscheid 09, located in the Ruhr area of Germany.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

Updated 7:23 pm, October 10, 2011
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