CHAD WINGER - Friday, January 14, 2005
Baltimore native and Long Island University product Sean Rush has tentatively signed a 1-year contract with Serie B side Treviso, becoming the first American since Alexi Lalas to join the first team in either of Italy's top two flights.
Treviso are currently sitting 7th in the Serie B standings, 6 points off of a promotion spot.
"I am just hoping to break into the squad," Rush told YA on Friday.
"There will be some other foreign based players as well as other Italians coming in, so I know that I will have to work hard - maybe twice as hard."
"But I definitely think I have the ability to make a mark with Treviso."
After training with soccer legend Pelé's former team Santos in Brazil during the summers of 2003 and 2004, the wiry 5' 10" midfielder headed off to Italy on advice of his agent Mahmood Ebrahimzadeh to train with Venezia.
But upon returning to Italy following the holiday season, Treviso stepped in and offered Rush a trial, and after just one training session and intrasquad match - in which he scored the only goal - the Veneto squad offered the 19-year old a contract on the spot, locking up his services until 2006.
A childhood friend of both Manchester United's Kenny Cooper and DC United's Santino Quaranta, Rush was a standout player in the Olympic Developmental Program, captaining his side for seven seasons.
He also played for national powerhouse youth side Baltimore Bays before finally moving on to LIU for the 2003 season.
Rush holds an Irish passport through his grandparents, thus he qualifies as an EU player.
Due to FIGC regulations, Rush will not be available for the side until after the current season, and will join the Italians on July 21 for preseason training.