By SHELDON LONGLEY ~ NG Sports Editor ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Yet another young Bahamian is making strides in the sport of soccer. Former Queen's College standout Ambry Moss recently signed a national letter of intent to play with one of the top collegiate soccer programs in the United States. The Indiana Hoosiers expressed interest in the Bahamian youngster, and Moss obliged.
Moss, 19, has already represented The Bahamas for a number of years on national teams, and is currently a student at the IMG Academy soccer program in Bradenton, Florida. It was there where he was spotted by scouts from top colleges in the United States, including Indiana University.
"I was waiting for this day for a long time," said Moss yesterday. "Last year I was in grade 12 and I couldn't find a college to my liking, but when Indiana came and expressed interest, that was like a blessing for me.
It's a good soccer school and the academics are pretty good as well. I feel like I have already accomplished one of my goals in my soccer career," he added.
Indiana is one of the elite collegiate soccer programs in the United States, with seven national championships and more wins than any other men's collegiate team in history.
"Signing on the dotted line was a major boost for me," said Moss. "I feel like I'm proving that I'm going somewhere in my soccer career and in my education as well. The school is known for having players drafted into the MLS, and who knows... maybe I will get there one day," he added.
Moss, who is described by his coach as a player with an incredible amount of potential, has already earned the respect of Major League Soccer (MLS) players and clubs during recent off-season scrimmages. Playing with the national squad for the past three years and training with IMG Academy soccer program has enabled the young talented player to further develop his skills and prepare for his collegiate debut.
"Well, we played the Columbus Crew some time back and they wanted me to come and train with them but I told them that I would take care of my college career first and then deal with the pros afterwards. They expressed interest in me, saying that they would watch me through college and see how that develops," said Moss. "Right now, I just want to take it one step at a time. I've played with the national team for the past three to four years and I think that has helped in my development. It was good for my confidence level. I feel like I'm a better defender today because of the time with the national team. The main thing for me was getting exposure and seeing how soccer is played at the top level. I think that has prepared me for the challenges that lie ahead, but right now, I'm just looking forward to my college career," he added.
The IMG Academy soccer program is the United States' full-time residency program for its under-17 and under-16 men's national teams. During an off-season scrimmage against the Columbus Crew of the MLS, Moss was spotted and drew interest from the professional club. The Crew has won five major trophies - the MLS Cup two years ago, the 2004, 2008 and 2009 Supporters' Shields, and the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
"Hopefully I'll blossom in college to the point where I could be one of those players who will be drafted into the MLS when that day comes," said Moss. "The environment at IMG has helped me to get ready for college and the level of competition that lie ahead. I feel very good right now. It's a pleasure just representing The Bahamas, and now that I have this opportunity to go to a top college program like Indiana, I'm going to take full advantage of it. I'm optimistic and I just want to go there and do my best and make my family proud," he added.
Moss is expected to enroll at Indiana University for the 2010 Fall semester.