By Matthew Johnson, Sports Editor
Published in print Aug. 20, 2014
Traveling the country and the world as a member of multiple MLS teams such as the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Philadelphia Union, as well as playing for his home country while on the Venezuela National Team, retired soccer forward and former UNCG student Alejandro Moreno still has fond memories of his career as a Spartan even though he played his last game for the Blue and Gold in 2001.
Spending four seasons of outstanding play at UNCG, Moreno led the team in total points in two out of the four years he played and was first or second in total goals every season he was student from 1998 to 2001.
Reflecting on his most fond memory of his athletic career at UNCG, Moreno explained that though the individual accomplishments are feats he is proud of, what truly made his time playing soccer as a Spartan was the UNCG’s success on the field as a team rather than individual goals.
“My freshman year was probably the best year we had as a team in my time at UNC Greensboro. In that year, we made it all the way to the NCAA Tournament, we won a couple games in the tournament, and most notably, we went to Seattle and beat the No. 2 ranked team in the nation in University of Washington at the time”, Moreno explained.
While individual goals were never the main priority for Moreno, the UNCG Athletics Hall of Fame Member does vividly remember being motivated by the Southern Conference not naming him as its’ freshman of the year in 1998.
Though Moreno performed impressively with 47 points in his first season with 20 goals and seven assists, he was not awarded Freshman of the Year which Moreno stated was a driving factor to him in the championship game of the SoCon tournament against Furman that year.
“I had felt I had not been recognized properly by the Southern Conference because even after scoring 20 goals in the regular season, it was not enough to be named Freshman of the Year and those things resonate and those things make a difference and obviously there was something for me to prove…. I ended up scoring the game winning goal and then we won the Southern Conference Tournament and we moved on to the NCAA tournament. That was as high as a moment I had at UNC Greensboro simply because what it meant to be facing our rival in Furman, what it meant to me personally, what it meant to us as a team and the fact that we were now going to compete nationally.”
After several seasons in the MLS and the Venezuela National Team, Moreno closed his international career in 2011 and his professional career as a member of Chivas USA in 2012.
Joining the Philadelphia Union commentator team in 2013, Moreno was selected by ESPN to join the 11 man panel of analyst the TV Network had set up during the World Cup as an informative source of soccer during pregame shows.
On being selected to join the illustrious panel which included renown soccer experts such as Alexi Lalas and Steve McManaman, Moreno added,
“People with ESPN saw something in me and felt that I had something I could offer to the TV studio in commenting and analyzing soccer games. Those people know what they are doing and I followed their advice. I followed their lead and through some hard work and some cooperation, I found myself commenting on the World Cup and that in itself was very rewarding because it is a combination of a lot of work, a lot of preparation, and certainly for me an experience of a lifetime.”
Though the World Cup has passed, Alejando Moreno will continue working for ESPN on their soccer analyst show ESPNFC and continues to work with the knowledge on and off the field which he attained in his career as a Spartan.
“…My experience overall at UNC Greensboro was very positive and everything I wanted it to be in terms of an education, in terms of an experience on the field, in terms of athletics, relationships, and in the end the memories that I have of UNC Greensboro are all positive and rewarding and very fulfilling.”
Categories: matthew johnson, Sports
Leave a Reply