In the spring of 2008, Brian Fekete was months away from applying to the University of Florida and not playing collegiate soccer.
Some coaching and convincing, however, led him to stay home and play at the next level.
Fekete is now a starting freshman on The University of Tampa men’s soccer team.
Head coach Adrian Bush, Fekete’s club coach during his prep days, recruited him to UT because he saw his potential in becoming a star.
“I told him, ‘If you ever have a change of heart, you have a home here,’” Bush said. “He can play college soccer, no doubt. He’s a great player. He has a great left foot and good speed, and he’s very effective.”
Fekete, who played at Plant City High School, east of Tampa, has had a lifelong love affair with the game of soccer.
He picked up the game from his older brother at the age of four and has not slowed down since.
“It’s what I live for,” Fekete said.
Bush credits Fekete’s character and leadership potential as the key qualities he brings to the Spartans.
“He’s a very bright young man– really sharp, good character,” Bush said. “He’s a model of what UT’s about. We want good character people here.”
While Fekete has a few years to reach his potential, he reached a milestone on Sept. 26 with his first collegiate goal in a 2-1 win over Barry.
“It helped out my confidence a whole lot,” Fekete said. “I got it out of the way and didn’t have to worry about it anymore.”
“Anytime someone gets his first college goal, it’s an exciting time,” Bush added. “His was from about 40 yards out. He was confident enough to hit the ball that far, and we were happy to see it go in.”
Fekete’s freshman status has not made him an outcast.
His fellow Spartans have taken to him as much as he has taken to them.
He credits a strong team chemistry.
“Everyone on the team is like my brother,” Fekete said. “We have great chemistry. We all care about each other. I think that’s the reason we’ve had so much success.”
Bush sees as high a ceiling for Fekete as any player he has coached.
“He could be a guy who can play professionally when he’s done here,” Bush said. “Not only is he a good player, he’s willing to learn. There is room for improvement, and he’s very open to that. He can be a special player not just for us, but in our conference. He’s that good.”
Brenton can be reached at email@example.com