Hurff striving to make jump from Rutgers-Camden to USL

CAMDEN, N.J. (Jan. 29, 2016) – When Connor Hurff (Sewell, NJ/St. Augustine Prep) completed his senior season at Rutgers University-Camden last fall, the talented midfielder was determined to take the next step in his soccer career.

Hurff will get that chance beginning Monday, when he opens pre-season camp with the first-year Bethlehem Steel FC, the United Soccer League (USL) affiliate owned by the Philadelphia Union. The Union are the ninth Major League Soccer team to independently own and operate a team in the USL.

“Going to a USL pre-season is a great opportunity for me as a player,” said Hurff, who is the first Rutgers-Camden graduate invited to a USL Pro preseason camp. “I went to Division I Rutgers-New Brunswick with a serious knee injury that I had trouble rebounding back from. Rutgers-Camden gave me the chance to recover from this injury, rediscover myself as a player, and work towards my ultimate goal of becoming a professional player, which has been a dream of mine since I was a young kid. Now I have that chance and I do not plan on stopping at the USL level.”

Hurff earned his pre-season invitation after performing well at the Philadelphia Union’s Pro Combine in late December. If he makes the Bethlehem roster and signs a professional contract, he could make his first pro appearance in the team’s season opener March 25 at FC Montreal.

“I think this is a great opportunity for Connor to chase his aspirations at the USL level,” said Rutgers-Camden Head Coach Tim Oswald. “It’s certainly a jump from DIII, but he is preparing himself as best as possible for preseason camp.  He knows he has to perform at his best to make the roster, but that’s a given considering the expectation to be a paid professional. We wish him the best of luck.”

Hurff anxiously awaits the opportunity to compete against other talented players for a berth on the roster, and feels his experiences at Rutgers-Camden in the rugged New Jersey Athletic Conference and with the Scarlet Raptors’ high-powered national-level schedule will help his chances.

“Division III gave me the chance to learn new techniques in the off season that I could adopt into my playing style,” said the two-time Raptor team captain. “Along with this, I was able to get my National E Coaching License and had the pleasure of coaching a U-11 Monroe United team, along with a U-17 MTSA Premier ’99 team. This opened my eyes to a new side of the game, which I have been able to use as I play the game. I think that the combination of my technical skills and tactical mindset will give me an advantage over some of the high end Division I players and veteran professionals which were not able to have this experience.”

Hurff has had a wealth of soccer experiences throughout his life, including his stellar four-year scholastic career at St. Augustine Prep, where he earned NSCAA Regional All-America, First Team All-State and a pair of South Jersey Player of the Year awards (from the Philadelphia Inquirer andCourier-Post newspapers), among numerous other honors. He helped St. Augustine Prep capture the Non-Public A state title, and also played on a pair of state championship squads with his Pittsgrove Premier 92 club team.

Hurff spent two years on an athletic scholarship at Rutgers-New Brunswick, including a medical red-shirt season in 2011 where he missed the entire campaign while recovering from knee surgery. He was named to the Big East All-Academic Team in both 2011 and 2012, and finally returned to the soccer pitch and appeared in three games in 2012. He transferred to Rutgers-Camden for his final three seasons of collegiate eligibility and immediately became an integral player on the finest team in program history. The 2013 Scarlet Raptors went 23-1-2, won their third straight NJAC title and advanced all the way to the NCAA championship game before losing in double-overtime to Messiah College. Hurff started all 26 games for that team, tying a program record, and finished third in scoring with eight goals and five assists for 21 points. He also earned a berth on Rutgers-Camden’s Cialella Soccer Classic All-Tournament Team.

“”Playing at Rutgers-Camden was an amazing experience as a student-athlete,” he said. “It was a program where I was able to come into pre-season every year knowing I was preparing for NJAC title and National Championship runs. It was an adrenaline rush from August to December, a rush that every truly committed player is searching to find.

“Rutgers-Camden was the first time that I was able to see how the older players were able to pass down the culture and playing style, no matter the amount of playing time they got on the field themselves. During the national finals run of 2013, players that were on the bench were able to tactically coach those who were on the field and show me a new way of thinking about the game in my position, part of what makes us a unique program. Whether they were telling me what I was able to do better on the field, or making a joke to calm the mood and help me refocus, my teammates were always there for me, even as a new player in the program. Rutgers Camden is unique in that it is not just a four-year program and you are done, it is a lifestyle and a culture long past your playing career.”

During the last two seasons of Hurff’s Rutgers-Camden career, he served as one of the Scarlet Raptors’ team captains. As a junior in 2014, he helped the Raptors advance to another NJAC title game, capture the ECAC Metro/Upstate title and finish with a 16-8-1 record. He earned Second Team All-NJAC honors, was the NJAC Offensive Player of the Week on Nov. 3, and finished second on the team in scoring with five goals and eight assists for 18 points.

That set the stage for a banner 2015 senior season in which Hurff helped the Scarlet Raptors win their fourth NJAC title in five years, stunning nationally-ranked Montclair State on penalty kicks in the title game. The Raptors advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament before losing to eventual Final Four team SUNY-Oneonta. They finished with a 14-8-2 record and Hurff captured First Team All-NJAC and First Team ECAC Metro honors, while adding NSCAA All-South Atlantic Region Second Team recognition. He finished second on the team in scoring with eight goals and 11 assists for 27 points, aided by a monster game in the season opener when he collected four assists (tying the single-game program record) and two goals for eight points against Rosemont College, Sept.1. He finished the season as the Raptors’ leader with 11 assists and tied for the club lead with four game-winning goals.

After experiencing an overall three-year record of 53-17-5 at Rutgers-Camden, including two berths in the NCAA tournament (one in the final game), three NJAC title-game appearances and two championships, and an ECAC Metro/Upstate crown, it isn’t surprising that Hurff holds many fond memories from his Scarlet Raptor career.

“First, the pregame warmups,” he mentioned, ticking off his favorite Raptor moments. “Teams come onto the field to warm up screaming and yelling and motivating one another to try their hardest and run around with energy. At Rutgers-Camden we know we will get that. What made our warmups unique was the mood where we would be laser focused, while at the same time laughing and cracking jokes with each other. This set the tone that you see in our style, which is extreme focus, mixed with calm smart soccer on the defensive and offensive side of the ball.

“Next is the National Championship run of 2013 and the 2015 NJAC Final Championship. Both years there was a feeling that we could beat anyone on any given day. However, what made the run of 2015 so special was that we found out the hard way that hard work must be paired with talent in order to be the best team we could, and once we figured this out together we became nearly unstoppable.”

In only three years at Rutgers-Camden, Hurff started all 73 of his games and finished tied for fourth on the program’s career assist list with 24. He also scored 21 goals and finished eighth on the career list for points (66). All the while, Rutgers-Camden helped Hurff continue his development as a player.

“Rutgers-Camden is a program that faces adversity in regards to its location,” Hurff said. “This feeling and motto of adversity that the program adopts constantly pushes players past their potential and motivates us on the field. Rutgers-Camden gave me the experience I needed during the season in game scenarios, however, unlike the Division 1 environment which is all year round, Rutgers-Camden gave me the chance to improve and learn new individual techniques while out of season and make myself a better player individually that I could apply during pre-season. It gives players a chance to have eight months of off-season work that they are able to show off at the start of the following preseason.”

Now Hurff is hoping to show those talents at the professional level, beginning at the first pre-season camp in the history of the Bethlehem Steel FC.

For more information on the USL Bethlehem Steel FC, see: Bethlehem Steel

Coach/Trainer Connor Hurff Leading MTSA Premier Training

Coach/Trainer Connor Hurff  Bio

 

MYSA is now under the full coaching of Connor Hurff.

Connor is brining the college level experience to MTSA Premier.   A transfer from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, Connor Hurff was an integral part of the finest soccer season in Rutgers-Camden history in 2013. Hurff and four other teammates started all 26 games for the Scarlet Raptors to tie for a single-season program record. Rutgers-Camden posted a 23-1-2 record, played in the NCAA Division III championship game for the first time ever, won its third straight New Jersey Athletic Conference title and finished with its highest national ranking ever, being ranked No. 2 in both the NSCAA and D3soccer.compolls.
Soccer 2013: Started all 26 games to tie a program single-season record…Finished third on the team in scoring with 21 points (eight goals, five assists)…Had two game-winning goals…Named to the Cialella Soccer Classic All-Tournament Team (Sept. 7-8) after notching two goals and one assist in a 5-0 win over Eastern Mennonite University and contributing to another 5-0 shutout against Arcadia University on back-to-back days…Named Rutgers-Camden’s Raptor of the Week Nov. 18 after collecting one goal and one assist in a 4-0 win over Lycoming College (Nov. 17), giving the Raptors their first tournament win on the road to the NCAA championship game…Scored the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Salisbury University (Sept. 14)…His other game winner came in a 4-1 victory over The College of New Jersey (Nov. 6) in the NJAC semifinals…Assisted on Stevan Austino’s game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Manhattanville College (Sept. 18)…Scored goals in a 4-1 win over Ramapo College (Oct. 26) and a 2-1 NCAA tournament victory over Montclair State University (Nov. 24)…That win over Montclair State lifted the Scarlet Raptors into the Final Four…Also assisted on Keegan Balle’s goal in a 3-1 victory over York College (Nov. 23) in the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16 round.

Pre-Rutgers: Spent two seasons on an athletic scholarship with the Rutgers-New Brunswick men’s soccer program…Was a medical red-shirt in 2011, missing the season while recovering from knee surgery…Played in three games in 2012 in his first season back on the soccer pitch…Named to Big East All-Academic Team in both 2011 and 2012.

High School: Produced a stellar four-year soccer career at St. Augustine Prep for Coach Les Heggan, earning NSCAA Regional All-America honors and leading the Hermits to the Non-Public A state title…During his stellar senior season in 2010, earned First Team All-State honors…Named a Top 15 player in the state…Named the South Jersey Player of the Year by the Courier-Post and Philadelphia Inquirer, while earning All-South Jersey First Team honors…Also named Player of the Year and First Team All-Area by the Press of Atlantic City andThe Daily Journal…All-Non-Public First Team by Courier-Post…Notched all three goals while leading his team to its first South Jersey Coaches Association tournament championship, 3-1 over Rancocas Valley…Scored 25 goals overall as St. Augustine won both the Cape-Atlantic League American Conference and the South Jersey championships…Final goal came as the first tally in the Non-Public A state final as St. Augustine defeated the state’s #1-ranked team, Pingry, 2-0…He also assisted on the insurance goal…Named South Sectional All-State First Team by the Soccer Coaches Association of New Jersey (SCANJ)… Cape Atlantic American Division First Team …During his junior year in 2009 earned All-South Jersey First Team from the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Newark Star-Ledger…All-South Jersey Second Team and All-Non-Public First Team from the Courier-Post…All-State All-Non-Public Second Team…Cape Atlantic American Division Second Team.

Connor Hurff – 2015 Rutgers Men’s Soccer

Connor Hurff has been an integral part of Rutgers-Camden’s 39-9-3 run over the past two seasons since his transfer from Rutgers University in New Brunswick. The hard-working midfielder has played in 50 of the team’s 51 games (starting all 50) during that span, contributing 13 goals and 13 assists for 39 points. His 13 assists are tied for 13th on the program’s career list and he needs only seven more to become just the eighth player to compile 20 or more assists in a Rutgers-Camden career.

One of the Raptors’ tri-captains in 2014 and a captain for the 2015 season as well, Hurff led Rutgers-Camden to the NCAA Division III championship game and the best season in program history (23-1-2) in his first year on campus in 2013. Last season he helped the Scarlet Raptors capture the ECAC Division III Metro/Upstate Men’s Soccer Championship title, the fourth ECAC crown for Rutgers-Camden since 2006.

Soccer 2014: Started all 24 of his games, tied for the seventh-highest single-season total of starts in program history…Finished second on the team in scoring with 18 points (five goals, eight assists)…The eight assists placed second on the team and are tied for the 10th-highest single-season mark in program history…Captured New Jersey Athletic Conference Second Team honors…Named NJAC Offensive Player of the Week Nov. 3…Scored the lone goal of the game 2:27 into the first overtime period to lift the Raptors to a 1-0 victory over William Paterson University in the first round of the NJAC playoffs (Nov. 1)…The goal helped him capture honors as the NJAC Offensive Player of the Week on Nov. 3…Also scored a goal against Paterson in a 3-1 win on Sept. 24…Had his season high of three points (one goal, one assist) in a 2-0 victory at Ramapo College (Oct. 11)…The Ramapo game was the middle contest of his three-game goal-scoring streak, which started in a 7-3 loss to Haverford College (Oct. 6) and ended in a 3-0 win over The College of New Jersey (Oct. 16)…He added an assist in a 5-2 loss to Montclair State University (Oct. 18), giving him points in four straight games…Rutgers-Camden posted a 7-1 record in the eight games he notched an assist and a 4-1 mark in the five games he scored a goal…Had his final assist with a through ball on Mike Ryan’s game-winning goal as the Scarlet Raptors captured the ECAC Metro/Upstate championship with a 2-1 win over Stockton (Nov. 16).

Soccer 2013: Started all 26 games to tie a program single-season record…Finished third on the team in scoring with 21 points (eight goals, five assists)…Had two game-winning goals…Named to the Cialella Soccer Classic All-Tournament Team (Sept. 7-8) after notching two goals and one assist in a 5-0 win over Eastern Mennonite University and contributing to another 5-0 shutout against Arcadia University on back-to-back days…Named Rutgers-Camden’s Raptor of the Week Nov. 18 after collecting one goal and one assist in a 4-0 win over Lycoming College (Nov. 17), giving the Raptors their first tournament win on the road to the NCAA championship game…Scored the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Salisbury University (Sept. 14)…His other game winner came in a 4-1 victory over The College of New Jersey (Nov. 6) in the NJAC semifinals…Assisted on Stevan Austino’s game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Manhattanville College (Sept. 18)…Scored goals in a 4-1 win over Ramapo College (Oct. 26) and a 2-1 NCAA tournament victory over Montclair State University (Nov. 24)…That win over Montclair State lifted the Scarlet Raptors into the Final Four…Also assisted on Keegan Balle’s goal in a 3-1 victory over York College (Nov. 23) in the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16 round.

Pre-Rutgers: Spent two seasons on an athletic scholarship with the Rutgers-New Brunswick men’s soccer program…Was a medical red-shirt in 2011, missing the season while recovering from knee surgery…Played in three games in 2012 in his first season back on the soccer pitch…Named to Big East All-Academic Team in both 2011 and 2012.

High School: Produced a stellar four-year soccer career at St. Augustine Prep for Coach Les Heggan, earning NSCAA Regional All-America honors and leading the Hermits to the Non-Public A state title…During his stellar senior season in 2010, earned First Team All-State honors…Named a Top 15 player in the state…South Jersey Coaches Association Offensive Player of the Year…Named the South Jersey Player of the Year by theCourier-Post and Philadelphia Inquirer, while earning All-South Jersey First Team honors…Also named Player of the Year and First Team All-Area by the Press of Atlantic City and The Daily Journal…All-Non-Public First Team by Courier-Post…Notched all three goals while leading his team to its first South Jersey Coaches Association tournament championship, 3-1 over Rancocas Valley…Scored 25 goals overall as St. Augustine won both the Cape-Atlantic League American Conference and the South Jersey championships…Final goal came as the first tally in the Non-Public A state final as St. Augustine defeated the state’s #1-ranked team, Pingry, 2-0…He also assisted on the insurance goal…Named South Sectional All-State First Team by the Soccer Coaches Association of New Jersey (SCANJ)… Cape Atlantic American Division First Team …During his junior year in 2009 earned All-South Jersey First Team from the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Newark Star-Ledger…All-South Jersey Second Team and All-Non-Public First Team from the Courier-Post…All-State All-Non-Public Second Team…Cape Atlantic American Division Second Team.

Personal: Born November 22, 1992…Led club team, Pittsgrove Premier 92, to two state championships…Region 1 Premier League finalist…Futsal Regional Team goalie…New Jersey ODP player…Hobbies include soccer, hacky sack and magnets…Criminal Justice major at Rutgers-Camden…Plans to continue coaching and attend Army or Navy Officer Candidate School (OCS)…Connor is the son of Susan and Scott Hurff of Sewell.

 

 

2010 boys soccer Player of Year Connor Hurff chooses Rutgers

St. Augustine Prep’s Connor Hurff is staying home.

The 2010 Press boys soccer Player of the Year decided to pass on offers from a handful of out-of-state schools and will play collegiately at Rutgers University on a partial athletic scholarship.

Hurff signed a national letter of intent on Feb. 2.

“The facilities up there (in Piscataway) are really nice,” Hurff said by telephone last week. “It’s kind of like a professional environment at a college and it’s close to home so my family and friends can watch me play. They want me to play right away and you can’t beat that in the Big East.”

Northwestern was among a group of schools looking at Hurff. Interest from colleges and universities increased during the season as Hurff led the Prep to a state Non-Public A title.

Rutgers only came into the picture over the last couple of months.

“It’s such a relief,” Hurff, who lives in Washington Township, Gloucester County, said of being done with the recruiting process. “It’s such a pain having to deal with it constantly. It takes a lot of stress off me.”

Hurff scored 25 goals during his senior season and finished his career as one of the top players in St. Augustine history.

Hurff’s best game came in the final of the prestigious South Jersey Coaches Tournament, when he scored three goals in leading the Prep to the first tournament title in school history. The Hermits won 25 games while winning Cape-Atlantic League American Conference, South Jersey and state Non-Public A titles.

“I’m very happy for him,” Prep coach Les Heggan said. “I sent him an e-mail the other day and said that if there is one guy that deserves anything and everything, it’s him.

“Connor bought into the team concept right from the beginning. He realized that if he was going to shine that everyone else was going to be a part of it.”

Hurff was used primarily as a striker and attacking midfielder during his senior season. With his left-footed shot and ball distribution skills, Hurff translates well to a left outside midfielder and could eventually find his way back into the center of the field.

Rutgers plays in the Big East and is coming off a 5-11-2 season, its first under coach Dan Donigan. The Scarlet Knights are not far removed from being a fixture in the national rankings.

“I’m hoping to go in there and make an impact right away,” Hurff said. “I want to make a mark in there and I want to help them turn the program back around, get them back to being a national powerhouse.”

Heggan says Hurff has all the tools to be successful at the next level.

“He would make a wonderful outside attacking midfielder,” Heggan said. “He has the quickness and the offensive game to get into the offensive third and he’s got that shot. He can shoot anywhere from 30 yards and in. I think he’s going to be very productive.”

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