SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - It isn't common for a student-athlete to enter a new season already riding a hot streak, but that will be the case for Seton Hall men's soccer redshirt senior midfielder Victor Manosalvas (Clifton, N.J.), who is looking to parlay an MVP performance with the New York Red Bulls Under-23 squad over the summer into a spectacular senior campaign for the Pirates.
During his summer vacation, Manosalvas was busy racking up goals for the Red Bulls in the National Premier Soccer League, where he finished the season with 12 goals and seven assists, leading his team to an unblemished 12-0 record and a staggering +50 goal differential.
The perfect season carried over to the NPSL Playoffs, where the Red Bulls' U23 squad dispatched Chattanooga FC, 3-1, in the league championship match in front of more than 15,000 fans at Red Bull Arena in Harrison.
In addition to hoisting a championship trophy, Manosalvas received a couple additional pieces of hardware, as earlier this month he was awarded the 2014 Mitre Golden Ball as the NPSL's Player of the Year in addition to splitting the Puma Golden Boot Award, recognizing the league's top goal scorer.
Manosalvas' road to being named the MVP of the NPSL was one filled with hard work and recovery, after he saw his soccer career temporarily derailed by a knee injury fewer than two weeks before the start of what should have been his junior season at Seton Hall in 2012.
That year, Manosalvas figured to factor prominently in the midfield for then first-year Seton Hall head coach Gerson Echeverry, but one of the Pirates' most dynamic offensive talents was forced to watch from the sidelines, and begin the arduous recover process from an ACL reconstruction.
"This success just goes back to when I injured my ACL," said Manosalvas. "I have just been training really hard for two years and with the help of Ryan (Strength & Conditioning coach Ryan Carr), Mitch (Athletic Trainer Mitch Toda), and my coaches, I have put in the hard work to get back into the shape I was before I got injured."
In addition to missing the 2012 season at Seton Hall, Manosalvas was not recovered to the point he could suit up for the Red Bulls in the summer of 2013, so his return to competition finally came last fall. He demonstrated much of the offensive technical skills the Pirates had missed from the previous year, starting all 18 games at the midfield for The Hall while leading the team with five assists.
This summer, Manosalvas' offensive game evolved in incorporate more goal scoring, but he was playing a role out of the midfield similar to his responsibilities with the Pirates, focusing on setting up teammates while looking for ways to penetrate the defense.
To Manosalvas, the additional success is directly attributed to the work he put into rehabilitation and recovery, with the goal of transferring that aggressive offensive approach to his final season at Seton Hall.
"It was good because I trained really hard with Ryan (Carr) in the offseason and the coaches, and that really translated into the summer," said Manosalvas. "It was difficult because coming back from an ACL injury is really tough and getting back into shape can take a while, but I was able to do it and I am really excited about this upcoming season because I want to do the same thing I was able to do this summer."