It was a rough season for the men’s soccer team, which consistently suffered for lack of offensive creativity and scoring prowess without its two-time All-Ivy midfielder Jay Alberts ’03.
But for the next two fall seasons, the Bulldogs and their fans can look forward to having their offensive spark back.
After being sidelined all season with mononucleosis, Alberts has been redshirted, allowing him to play two more seasons of soccer for the Elis.
“At this point I have everything in front of me, and I think it’s going to work out pretty well,” Alberts said. “Now that the season’s over, I’m looking forward to having two more years instead of one.”
This is good news for Yale fans who saw the team’s scoring touch diminish this season — but bad news for opposing teams.
“He’s a very dangerous offensive player because he runs at people at full speed,” captain Brian Lavin ’02 said. “He is very quick and puts people on their heels.”
After going through this year’s preseason, Alberts became aware that he had mono six days before the team’s season opener against Harvard.
This fall, battling the debilitating fatigue that the illness brings, he continued to practice with the team to the extent that he could.
“During the season the hardest part was sitting there watching the games,” Alberts said.
At first, the coaching staff expected to bring him back, but as the fall wore on and his health did not improve, “we got to a point in the season where it didn’t make sense to even consider bringing him back in terms of both impact and also using up a year of eligibility,” head coach Brian Tompkins said.
Alberts made an immediate impact on the team when he joined the Yale roster in 1999. In his rookie season, he tallied 21 points (seven goals, seven assists), the most ever by a Yale freshman, and became the first Bulldog to be named Ivy League Rookie of the Year.
While helping the Bulldogs earn an NCAA tournament berth and advance to the second round, Alberts was selected First-Team All-Ivy and All-New England and was selected for Soccer America’s All-Freshman team.
In 2000, Alberts finished with 17 points (6 goals, 5 assists) to lead the Elis in scoring and was once again named to the All-Ivy first team.
Redshirting at Yale is slightly different from doing so at other schools because the University mandates that students graduate in eight semesters. In order not to violate that rule, Alberts will be out of school this spring so that he can play the extra fall season in 2003.
“I’m going to play with my club team at home,” Alberts said, adding that, if NCAA regulations allow, he might be able to practice with the St. Louis University team.
With his extra season, Alberts will help fill the void that will be left when his class, a strong one, graduates.
“I think he’s obviously going to be an impact player next year among his peers,” Tompkins said, “but I think in the fourth year his impact is not just as a leader of that group but also as the leader of the whole team at that point.”