By BRIAN CUNNIFF
Middle Township High School graduate Joe Fala has a chance to break into the professional soccer ranks.
Fala, who finished a prolific career at Division III Ramapo College last week, is set to take part in the New York Red Bulls’ winter college combine, which is essentially a professional tryout with the organization.
Fala has earned the opportunity after being named to the 2019 United States Soccer Coaches NCAA Division III All-South Atlantic All-Region Team for the second straight year. Fala was also honored as the New Jersey Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight season.
The New York Red Bulls feature teams in both Major League Soccer, the highest level of professional soccer in the United States, and the United Soccer Leagues Championship, a tier below MLS.
“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime,” Fala said. “I would be ecstatic if either team wants to sign me, whether it be the first team or their second team.”
Fala said the invitation-only combine includes college players who will train at the Red Bulls’ facility in Whippany.
“This is a huge opportunity to go out and show what I bring to the table and to get myself exposed to the next level to open new doors,” Fala said. “I want to thank my family, my teammates and my coaches over the years. I couldn’t have done any of this without them.”
Fala, a 6-7 striker, completed a record-setting career at Ramapo last month. He set new program marks for goals in a season with 27 and career game-winning goals with 19. He is tied for third place in Ramapo history with 48 career goals and is tied for sixth in career assists with 17.
Fala helped Ramapo to an 11-2-5 overall record as a senior in 2019. The Roadrunners won the NJAC regular-season title for the first time in program history.
As a junior, Fala helped Ramapo to a 17-4-2 finish that included two victories in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
A 2016 graduate of Middle, Fala scored 46 career goals for the Panthers. He was also a major contributor to Middle’s basketball and tennis teams.