Bloomsburg Men's Soccer
August 3, 2006

Former Bloomsburg Soccer Standout Adam Clay Playing Professionally; BU Alum Eric Pettis Makes Donation to Men's Soccer Program

BLOOMSBURG--For most college athletes, the final games of their senior year mean the end of their playing career. And while those who play football, baseball and basketball usually garner more of the attention for playing at the professional level, there are some former college athletes in other sports, such as soccer, who do move on to the pro ranks. One of the athletes is former Bloomsburg University men's soccer standout Adam Clay.

Clay, from Dallas, PA, is a starting midfielder for the Harrisburg City Islanders of the United Soccer League's Second Division. The USL is largest organization of elite-level soccer leagues in North America with the Second Division featuring a nine-team league playing a 20-game season. The City Islanders are also owned by Bloomsburg University grad Eric Pettis.

"The level of play at the City Islanders is extremely more difficult than college and the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC)", said Clay. "Everyday I play against full international team players, Herman trophy runner ups and players that have been playing professionally for years. It makes you come to practice everyday prepared to fight for not only a position on the field, but a position on the bench by making the dress squad. The PSAC definitely prepared me for the league as far as playing physical. The PSAC was more physical than any league I had played in up to that point and is a big reason I was able to adjust quickly when I reached this level."

Adam Clay
Clay in Action

In 15 games so far this season, Clay has seen action in 14 and started seven. With two goals scored and one assist, Clay is tied for fifth in points with five.

Although just a professional for a short time, Clay has scored one very memorable goal in his career.

"My most exciting feeling so far was getting my first goal of my career to seal a win that helped put us into the playoffs last year, Clay continued. I just remember running around like a mad man with my shirt over my head and loving every second of it."

Of course, even professional athletes see an end to their playing days and Clay is already preparing for his future. In November of 2005, Clay was named the Tournament Director for the City Islanders Academy. In this role, Clay organizes and administers Academy-hosted tournaments across Central Pennsylvania.

"I am doing a lot of coaching now and will definitely plan to stay involved with the game, in that aspect, after my playing days are over, said Clay, who scored 30 goals and had 69 points during his career at Bloomsburg. "I have a few coaches that have directly influenced me to work hard and reach my goals and I want to be able to do the same thing for players that coaches did for me. The game has helped me to do so much on and off the field, I owe it to give my part back."

Bloomsburg University coach Paul Payne knows Clay has worked hard for everything he has achieved.

"Adam achieved what he did through shear desire and determination," said Payne. "He may not have been the most gifted player with skill and understanding of the game but he gained both by wanting it more than any other player I have coached in 23 years. I often say there are three types of players; those that watch things happen; those that wonder what happened and those that make things happen. Adam made things happen. He did here at Bloomsburg and continues to do so with the City Islanders. "

Clay also watched, with billions of other around the world, the World Cup tournament that recently concluded. Of course he was disappointed the United States was eliminated in the opening round, but did have fun taking a cheering interest against one country.

"I was rooting against England since two of my roommates are from there and take it much more serious than I ever would," Clay said jokingly.

And while his playing days are over at Bloomsburg, Clay will be returning to campus this fall to see the Huskies' new multi-purpose, lighted, turf field.

"It will be great to see the new facility as well as some of the guys playing there, said Clay. "I still am close with some guys that have a year or two left and would love to come back to see them play well at a great new facility. It really shows that the programs at Bloomsburg will continue to grow and prosper."

While a new facility will help the Huskies' men's soccer program grow, it is a donation from City Islanders owner and Bloomsburg alumnus Eric Pettis that will also play a role in the future success of the program.

Pettis, who is the President of Comprehensive Financial Associates, Inc. (CFA) and Pennsylvania Pension Planners, Inc. (PPP), both located in Harrisburg, has made a pledge of $10,000 over a five-year period to the men's soccer scholarship fund. The money will go to Louis V. Mingrone Soccer Award, a $2,000/year award to a current varsity soccer player

"My reason for giving back to the University and the men's soccer program is that both were instrumental in helping me develop the skills necessary for becoming successful in the real world," said Pettis. "I hope my contribution in some way motivates other former players, like Gary Gallagher, who has made pledge, to do so as well."

Coach Paul Payne is also very grateful for the donation to his program.

"Eric's donation allows us to increase our scholarship base to attract better players," said Payne. "But perhaps the bigger impact is that our former alumni are stepping up to stay connected to the current teams and build a tradition for Bloomsburg soccer. Because of Eric and others we have seen former players willing to step forward with financial and moral support and validate what we are trying to achieve as a program. A program based on "Pride-Passion-Purpose."

With four children all playing soccer, the recent World Cup was a "must-watch" in the Pettis household.

"My whole family, including my wife, Patrice, was all very much into the World Cup," said Pettis. "It was a real joy seeing them all get so engrossed in the whole event."