Aug. 25, 2007
USF senior defender Rob Valentino, the 2006 West Coast Conference Player of the Year and a candidate for the Hermann Trophy, will miss the 2007 season after having successful knee surgery today.
Valentino was recently named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). The trophy is given each January to the nation's top collegiate male and female players. Valentino, a fourth year senior from Cave Creek, Ariz., was one of 29 players to be chosen.
Valentino has led the USF men's soccer team to the NCAA playoffs in all three of his seasons. Last season he was named to the all-West Coast Conference first team for the third straight season.
The team co-captain was injured working out prior to the start of official practice and underwent surgery Saturday on his left knee. He is expected to have a complete recovery.
"It is a big blow losing a player of Rob's stature,' said Dons' head coach Erik Visser. "He is very versatile and one of the best defenders in the country. He is also a great team leader, who can carry a team on his back.
"We are counting on all of our players to step up in Rob's absence. We are confident he will come back stronger than ever."
Last year Valentino helped USF record a 0.88 goals against average in 2006 and also recorded a team-best six assists, four of the helpers coming on game-winners.