By Evan McMurtrie/FC Monmouth
FC Monmouth is excited to announce that assistant coach Nick LaBrocca has joined the 2019 roster as a player-coach.
“It’s for a great area,” LaBrocca said. “The whole point was for me to come back and affect the area that was such a positive influence on me growing up. I was doing it as a coach — but why not? Why not try to make an impact, help these kids, help the guys on the team, and influence the community in multiple ways?”
LaBrocca, who played in Major League Soccer for nearly a decade, has been with the club as an assistant coach since its inaugural season in 2018. The midfielder played for FC Monmouth head coach Brian Woods at Match Fit Academy FC as a youth.
“It’s needless to say, but we’re excited to see Nick on the field,” Woods said. “Although we do not know in what capacity he will be playing for the team, any time he gets on the pitch we will certainly be better.”
“I’ve known Woodsy for… too long,” said LaBrocca. “He’s one of the best people that I’ve been able to meet throughout this entire journey. He coached me as a kid, he helped me get into Rutgers, he was a huge supporter of me when I was professional, and now to come back and work with him again is a great experience.”
Born in Staten Island, NY, LaBrocca grew up in Monmouth County where he played high school soccer at Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, NJ.
“It developed who I am as a person, who I continue to be,” he said. “Now I’m back to the area, it’s an area I’m familiar with, and I have a lot of great memories here.”
In 78 games, LaBrocca started all but one game in his collegiate career at Rutgers University from 2003-2006, where he earned All-BIG EAST recognition three times.
“It was a battle,” he said. “It was a conference of a lot of physical players. Being one of the smaller guys out there, it taught me how to deal with that challenge and battle through it.
Rutgers is an amazing school, it’s got a great sports program, great academically. It was great to have my parents be able to come and watch me play.”
LaBrocca was selected by the Colorado Rapids with the 35th overall pick in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft. Over his nine-year professional career in Major League Soccer, LaBrocca made over 250 appearances for the Rapids, Toronto FC, Chivas USA, and Chicago Fire. The midfielder also featured in the 2011 MLS All-Star game versus Manchester United at Red Bull Arena.
“Every year was completely different and brought a new challenge,” LaBrocca said. “I was able to make some great friends, play with some great people, and live in some amazing places and have some great life experiences — on and off the field.”
“Nick has been an important part of our team in educating and inspiring players who are interested in making it as a professional player,” said General Manager Jacco de Bruijn. “It is wonderful to see that he will now also be able to do this by being on the pitch, guiding players during the game. Plus, as an example of a Monmouth County player going from CBA to MLS, it will be a boost for the crowd to see him back here on the FC Monmouth team.”
LaBrocca chooses not to overthink his involvement in the team.
“I never play for myself,” he said. “This year and last year, that’s the culture that we’ve tried to create here, that you’re playing for the person to your left and to your right.”
Photo Credit: Joey Dicamillo/FC Monmouth