Former USF goalkeeper Jeff Attinella wore a new set of colors at practice Thursday.
With the U.S. men’s national Team in town for a Gold Cup match against Panama, Attinella received a call asking if he would like to work out with the team for a morning practice session.
“Coach (Bryheem) Hancock from USF called me and said, ‘They’re looking for a goalie in Tampa,’ and he recommended me and gave me their number,” Attinella said. “I called them and, next thing you know, I’m meeting them at 10 a.m. at the team hotel and riding the bus with all these famous people and doing my best to not take pictures of them. It was a good experience.”
Attinella practiced at One Buc Place, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice facility, dressed in red, white and blue, facing shots from American soccer superstars like Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore.
Since graduating from USF, Attinella has quickly adapted to life as a professional with local North American Soccer League (NASL) team FC Tampa Bay. He began the season as a backup, but was forced into the starter’s role after regular goalkeeper Daryl Sattler tore his ACL in the fourth game of the season.
Attinella has played every minute since and now finds himself leading the NASL in saves with 47, despite playing fewer minutes than most of the league’s goalkeepers.
“I talked to (goalkeeper) Marcus Hahnemann for about 15 minutes (Thursday) about trying to get to the next level, and just the little things that a keeper has that I need to work on,” Attinella said. “I picked their brains as much as I could in the time I had and I’ve got it here now, so I just need to work on it.”
Underclassmen go pro
Jimmy Moran and Sam Mende, the two USF baseball underclassmen who were drafted in last week’s First-Year Player Draft, have decided to sign their professional contracts and begin their careers elsewhere.
Moran was selected in the 18th round by the Cincinnati Reds and will follow in the footsteps of Stephen Hunt, who was drafted by the Reds after his junior season and chose to sign. Moran will begin his career with the Reds’ rookie affiliate, the Billings Mustangs in Billings, Mont. The Mustangs play in the Pioneer League.
Moran will be joined in the Pioneer League by Mende, a 31st-round pick of the Colorado Rockies. His professional career will begin with the Casper Ghosts. Mende was a three-year starter for the Bulls, but had a team-low .192 batting average in Big East play this season.