San Jose forward Marcus Tracy tallied 14 minutes in yesterday’s 2-2 draw with Montreal. Those 14 minutes wiped away 3-1/2 years of pain, struggle, and determination.
Not since December of 2009 had Tracy made a 1st team appearance for any club – with Danish side Aalborg. Three seperate knee surgeries kept his soccer career at bay.
It hasn’t been a terribly long time since the 26-year old won the 2007 NCAA championship with Wake Forest and took home the Hermann Trophy along with it as best male collegiate player.
Quakes teammate Sam Cronin, who also paired with Tracy on the Deamon Deacons team that won it all, saw just how much the appearance meant to Tracy. “I’m incredibly happy for him. I know he’s had a really long road and just the way he’s continued to fight is unbelievable.”
The Connecticut product struggled mostly from patellar tendonitis – a condition more notably called “jumper’s knee” – in both sides, which sidelined him intermittently in the beginning of Aalborg’s 2009-2010 season, and ultimately sitting him down for good. The condition – often chronic – is characterized by inflammation and microscopic tears in the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap to the tibia.
He decided to return to the United States to rehab and target a move to the MLS, which he did so via a lottery. The Earthquakes, with a 4.6% chance in the lotto, were the team to snatch up his rights. The lottery system was used because he was originally drafted by the Houston Dynamo and offered a contract, which he declined to join Aalborg.
Strikers Alan Gordon and Steve Lenhart are returning for the Quakes from suspension next weekend, so it remains to be seen how Tracy will fit into the short term plans of manager Frank Yallow.