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Nick LaBrocca

Sport: Soccer

Born: December 14, 1984

Town: Howell

Nicholas LaBrocca was born December 14, 1984 in Howell. A quick and clever player in the youth soccer leagues of Monmouth County, Nick came to the attention of U.S. Soccer, which put him on the U14 team. Meanwhile, he enrolled at Christian Brothers Academy and became the star of the Colts’ soccer team. Nick continued to play for the national squad in U15, U16, U17 and U18 tournaments.

In 2003, Nick accepted a scholarship to Rutgers. The smallish midfielder became an instant team leader. The Scarlet Knights made the NCAA Tournament in 2003 and again in 2006. They lost in the second round in 2003 to Akron, 3–2. Three years later, they lost to Rhode Island in the first round on penalties. Nick scored the team’s only goal in regulation. Nick finished his college career with 10 goals and started 77 of 78 varsity games. He was named All-Big East in three of his four seasons at Rutgers.

Nick attended the 2007 MLS combine and impressed the scouts with his ability to lead an attack as well as playing defense. He was selected by the Colorado Rapids and became a starter in 2008. In 2011, he was traded with a draft pick to Toronto FC for Marvelle Wynne. After one season with the Reds, Nick was traded to Chivas USA.

Nick had his best pro season for Chivas in 2011, scoring 8 goals and being selected as a reserve for the MLS All-Star Game. The game was played at Red Bulls Stadium, where a big contingent of friends and family cheered him on. The All-Stars faced Manchester United and lost 4–0. Nick played the entire second half and was thrilled to share the field with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen.

In 2013, Nick rejoined the Rapids and played with the club through 2015. He played his final MLS season with the Chicago Fire. The Fire had a lackluster 7–17–10 season, but reached the semifinals of the US Open Cup. Nick played 232 MLS games in his career and scored 18 goals. He will long be remembered for scoring the 10,000th goal in MLS history during the 2011 season.

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