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Carolina Railhawks Derail AC St. Louis’ Alec Dufty’s Happy Homecoming

Alec Dufty in goal

Homecomings should be happy occasions, but the Carolina Railhawks were unkind hosts to former Raleigh, North Carolina resident Alec Dufty, starting goalkeeper for AC St. Louis.  Carolina defeated AC St. Louis 2-0 Saturday night.

Alec was born in Binghampton, New York and moved to Raleigh at the age of 12.  Alec’s dad, Dave, was with the 1975 San Jose Earthquakes of the original NASL (a team that featured St. Louisans Buzz Demling, Dan Counce and Mark Demling), which may explain Alec’s decision in high school to choose soccer over basketball while living in the hotbed of college hoops.  As Alec, 6’5″, explains, ” I started playing my club soccer there for Triangle FC who was coached by Al Pastore (Duke assistant at the time).  We would have our training sessions out at Duke, so I naturally became a big fan of Duke basketball.  I played basketball in high school  my freshman year though after that I had to make a choice between that and soccer due to time constraints. I chose soccer but didn’t start playing in goal full-time until I was a sophomore in high school.”

Brad chose good role models to learn the goalkeeping trade.  “While I was growing up I really looked up to Brad Friedel and still do,” he said.  “He along with Kasey Keller and Marcus Hahneman paved the way for American keepers in Europe, and made a name for American keepers on the international level.”  After high school, Alec spent a semester at Appalachian State, but “I  decided to transfer, ” he continued.  “I was not sure where I was going to go at first, but I found out that Duke assistant Mike Jacobs was taking the job at the University of Evansville and I decided to follow.  Over my 3 1/2 years there I learned a lot from not only Mike Jacobs, but also GK coach Mike Miller and assistant. Marshall Ray.  I had a great experience at Evansville.”  In Alec’s first year, the team improved from 2-14 to 10-8, the biggest improvement in college soccer that year.

After college, Alec was signed by the New York Red Bulls of MLS in 2009.  “New York was a good experience for me learning from Des McAleenan, who helped me improve a lot.”  Alec got into a game against the Houston Dynamo, substituting for starter Danny Cepero in the 8th minute of the match. ” Going into that game against Houston was a little nerve-racking at first, but once I was I settled into the game I was fine.  After getting the clean sheet and being named man of the match,  I was pretty happy.  I wanted to keep things in perspective though.  My goal wasnt just to play in one game and do well, it was to improve my overall game throughout the season. ”  Despite his efforts against Houston, Alec was waived and landed with the Columbus Crew, working with assistant coach Vadim Kirillov and backing up goalkeepers Wil Hesmer and Andy Gruenebaum, who both spent some time on the injury list.  What about the 2010 season?

“After that, I was invited back to preseason with Columbus but I thought it would be best for my developement as a player to get more games so I started looking toward the USSF D-2.  Once I heard there would be a team in STL I decided to try to get signed on here because after going to school in Indiana for 31/2 yrs,  I like the Midwest.  I enjoy St. Louis a lot so far,” Alec stated.

Alec shares an apartment with teammates Chad Becker and Jack Traynor.  His relationship with Jack Traynor goes back awhile.  Alec told me that “after my sophomore year at Evansville I was called in to US U-20 camp to play a friendly against Argentina.  That was also a great experience being able to wear a USA jersey.  I went to the combine and was on a team with Jack Traynor there, which was where I first got to know him, and after the draft we both ended up with the Red Bulls.”  Alec enjoys listening to music in his free time, and especially likes singer Jack Johnson.  He loved going to the beach back in North Carolina, but had to settle for playing a little Halo during some of the rainy days here this winter with his roommates.  Who is the best of the three amigos at Halo?  Alec confided that “its hard to say who the best is at Halo because we don’t play that much, but I think you could definitely say Jack is the worst.”  

The Carolina Railhawks spoiled Alec Dufty’s homecoming, but perhaps the tall twenty-three year old goalkeeper with NASL DNA and his AC St. Louis teammates can be heroes, like his hometown 2010 Duke NCAA national champions,  in the upcoming home opener this Saturday against the Austin Aztex.  Call 1-888-STL-GOAL for ticket information.


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