April 12, 2011
Brockport goalie signs with Rochester Rhinos
More news about: Brockport State men's team
When senior Joe Marino was growing up in Rochester, he would often watch the Rochester Rhinos professional soccer team and dream of playing for the Rhinos one day down the road.
That day has come for Marino, The College at Brockport's record-setting goalie who posted the 11th longest consecutive scoreless streak in Division III history during his senior season.
The decorated Marino has signed a professional contract to join the Rhinos as the team's third goalie.
Marino impressed coach Bob Lilley and the rest of the Rhinos during several tryouts with the team, and following Rochester's scrimmage on March 26, Lilley addressed the tryout participants.
On the heels of a series of strong workouts, and recognizing the potential possessed by the 6-foot, 195-pound Marino, Lilley announced that Marino and two other prospective Rhinos would be offered contracts to join the team.
Marino made the move official on Thursday, signing his first professional soccer contract to play with the Rhinos, who are a member of the United Soccer Leagues (USL) PRO National Division.
"I was trying to hide my excitement and be professional about it, but I was stoked. When I found out I'd been offered a spot, I wanted to scream out and celebrate," said Marino, who will wear No. 31 with the Rhinos.
"There were so many emotions running through me. I still don't think it's hit me yet. When it gets warm out and I find myself going to work to play soccer, then it will hit me, especially when I have that Rhinos' jersey on."
Marino set three Brockport records during the fall — shutouts in a season (11), team shutouts (12) and most consecutive minutes without allowing a goal (796 minutes, seven seconds). He garnered the Huntley Parker Award as the State University of New York Athletic Conference's (SUNYAC) Men's Soccer Player of the Year, the first Golden Eagle to earn conference Player of the Year honors.
Marino was selected by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) as a third-team All-American pick last fall, and he is expected to be a backup to starter, Neal Kitson.
"Joe is a very athletic keeper that will continue to grow with experience and refinement," Lilley said of Marino on the Rochester Rhinos' official website.
Led by Marino's solid play in net, the Green and Gold (14-3-3) climbed to as high as 13th in the national polls and earned the program's third trip to the Division III NCAA Tournament in the last five years. Marino's consistent play also earned him NCAA All-East Region Second-Team honors as Brockport advanced into the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament for the second time in as many years.
Marino, a two-time first-team All-SUNYAC selection, was the centerpiece of a defense that surrendered only 13 goals in 20 games. His 0.61 goals-against average both led the SUNYAC and was in the top 40 nationally among Division III keepers.
"Joe set a goal for himself of playing professional soccer at the next level, and this is great news for him," said Gary LaPietra, Brockport's head coach.
"Soccer is a passion for Joe and he's become very confident in his abilities. He understands what it takes to play at a high level. Hopefully this is a stepping stone for Joe for the future. He has his foot in the door and has to make the best of this opportunity."
The Rhinos kick off the 2011 season with four straight road games, beginning with a 7 p.m. contest April 15 against the Richmond Kickers. The Rhinos' home opener is slated for 7 p.m. May 7 against the Charleston Battery. That game will take place at Sahlen's Stadium in downtown Rochester.
Marino will be with the Rhinos when they play their next preseason game at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Sahlen's Stadium.
"This is a dream come true, it's been awesome," said Marino, who was the 2010 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Metro/Upstate Defensive Player of the Year.
"It's a great opportunity and I'm extremely excited and grateful for this chance. I told head coach Bob Lilley I'm going to work hard and, hopefully with some polish, my skills will develop into someone the Rhinos can count on. Right now I'm just enjoying the moment."