Atticus DeProspo wanted a good run before preseason soccer camp began.
So back in August, he made another visit to the prestigious IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., to train.
Two months later, DeProspo is still kicking it — literally — in Bradenton. He never quite made it back up north and is training with IMG's under-16 team full-time.
Soccer has always been a big part of DeProspo's life. Now the game consumes his life.
A typical day at IMG goes something like this. Study, train, study, train.
IMG attracts thousands of students from around the world to train in tennis, soccer, baseball, golf and basketball. They pay about $40,000 per year. DeProspo, of Goshen, is on a partial scholarship.
His team will scrimmage squads from around the country.
"It's been a lot of fun, but it's very competitive," said DeProspo, a defender. "Every day is like a tryout. You always have to be at your best or you could lose your position. It can be a little cutthroat down here."
DeProspo left a pretty good gig back home. Last season, he started as a freshman for Don Bosco Prep, a private Catholic school in Ramsey, N.J. Don Bosco is No. 17 in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America rankings.
However, when DeProspo was preparing to leave IMG, the academy's director of coaching, Tom Durkin, offered him the scholarship. DeProspo couldn't turn it down.
"I think Atticus will do great down there," said Jim Lagarde, co-owner of Primo Sports, who has trained DeProspo since his youth soccer days. "With his drive, he can go as far in soccer as he wants to go. Atticus is just the complete package."
DeProspo, who had a 99.32 classroom average at Don Bosco last year, attends Bradenton Prep High School, which is near the academy. He trains three to four hours a days and the team travels for tournaments and games on the weekend.
The U.S. U-17 national residency team, which has produced U.S. players such as Landon Donovan and Freddy Adu, also trains at IMG. DeProspo hopes, at some point, to get a look from the U-17 team. He was viewed as a Division I college prospect before he even accepted IMG's invitation.
"I'm definitely staying here for the rest of high school," DeProspo said. "I'm just so glad I have this opportunity because many people won't get it. I know I have a long way to go, but I'm really learning what it takes to become a great soccer player."