The UConn defender decided to slide-tackle forward Brad Rose ’12 at exactly the wrong moment: right when he was shooting the ball.
The defender slid in for the tackle, not only hitting the ball, but Rose’s shooting foot as well, twisting it so that the toes on his right foot were unnaturally pointing away from his body.
The tackle only lasted a moment, but it would become the defining moment of Rose’s senior season. An MRI revealed a tear in the muscles connecting his ankle to the shin. He was told the recovery time for similar ankle tears was 12 months.
“It sucked — there’s no other way to put it,” Rose recalled.
But Rose didn’t quit. He had faced injuries before in a sophomore season that attacked both his health and confidence.
“It became a psychological game – which I didn’t win,” he said.
But this time would be different, he told himself. The tackle that ruined his senior year wouldn’t be the tackle that ended his career.
“I want to try and play professionally after school,” Rose said. “I didn’t want to let go of soccer that quickly and easily.”
So instead of graduating with the rest of his class last spring, Rose went home and started the rehabilitation process, getting ready for a fifth season of soccer thanks to a medical redshirt. The first month was spent in a large black boot; Rose said he couldn’t walk without feeling sharp pain. After the boot came off, his rehab really began — and it was neither quick nor easy.
After six months he could start running; after eight, playing.
More than a full year after the injury, Rose is competing. He started both games in Yale’s opening weekend, scoring an assist on Friday, almost exactly a year since the injury occurred. But more than just competing, Rose has been looking forward to one thing — “Winning.”
Last year, the men’s soccer team went 3–12–2; Rose compared the experience of watching from the sidelines to torture. Head coach Brian Tompkins said the team “sorely missed” Rose and looks for him to be a factor this year.
“Mature, experienced players are essential to … any college team, and Brad has been terrific with the younger players,” Tompkins said. “He is keen to score goals and be a go-to offensive player for us. He will have an important role to play in determining the team’s fortunes this fall.”
Rose said that it’s his job, as a veteran on a team of veterans, to help define the attitude of the team when the games get tough once Ivy League play begins.
“In the past we may have just rolled over,” Rose said. “[This year] the combination of seniors; a new atmosphere… we treat our practices like they’re games.”
Last year the men’s soccer team lost seven games by one goal; this year, Aden Farina-Henry ’12, who also was originally part of the Class of 2011, expects a different outcome.
“The team is shaping up nicely this year, creating more chances than in the past,” Farina-Henry said. “And it’s only a matter of time before Brad will be on the score sheet again.”