Reaching the goal
Former Barry soccer star Alen Marcina is thrilled to be back in South Florida playing for Miami’s pro team
By Dmitry Rashnitsov
Alen Marcina ’03 moves the ball down the field during a Miami FC home game at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, September 19.
As soccer teams from all over the globe prepare for the 2010 World Cup, Alen Marcina’03, is taking a minute to regroup and relax from his first season playing for Miami FC, South Florida’s professional soccer team.
Marcina scored five goals and logged the most minutes of all his teammates in 29 games, but fell just short of making the playoffs in September for the first time in his post-collegiate career.
A native of Vancouver, British Colombia, Marcina once trained for the Canadian National squad, but the Canucks will not be one of the 32 teams participating in the 2010 FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) World Cup June 11-July 11 in South Africa. Instead, Marcina will watch with the rest of the world as the countries with top-notch soccer programs battle it out for a trophy given out every four years.
“Brazil is one of the best soccer countries in the world and has been for a long time, and the team from Spain is also very very good,” Marcina said. “Even a team like the United States - people don’t expect them to win, but they have a great bunch of athletes. I wouldn’t be surprised if they took home the World Cup.”
Barry University saw the South American powerhouse close up when, in 1998, both the USA Men’s National Team and the Brazilian Men’s National Team trained at Barry’s soccer field prior to the World Cup tournament in France.
Marcina’s professional career has taken him to Canada, Greece, Iceland, New Zealand, Denmark and Puerto Rico. When Miami FC needed a veteran leader, Marcina tried out for the team and earned a spot to showcase his talent. The thrill of returning to South Florida increased when Marcina learned he would play for Miami FC Head Coach Crizam Cezar de Oliveira Filho, nicknamed Zinho, who earned a World Cup title with the 1994 Brazilian squad.
“I’m so excited to be back and really fortunate to have Zinho as a coach because he has won the World Cup,” Marcina said. “I’m still learning so much about the game and so blessed that I’m here. This is basically where I started my career.”
As a shy and reserved child growing up in Canada, Marcina’s Croatian parents enrolled him in soccer because of their love of the game. During the 1980s the sport had an even smaller following in the Great White North than it did in the United States.
Although as a skinny high school senior, Marcina had dreams of pursuing his passion professionally, he kept receiving rejections from college coaches until Barry’s head soccer coach, Steve McCrath, agreed to fly him in for a tryout.
“We had an interesting experience getting Alen down here; his flight was cancelled and he never called, so we did not know where he was, and then when he finally did get to Miami, the airline lost his bag,” McCrath said. “After all that he tore it up in practice and we offered him a scholarship.”
Marcina completed his bachelor’s degree in physical education and is one of the most decorated soccer players in Buccaneer history. He holds the record for most goals in a career (62), most points in a career (151), most game-winning goals (19), and is fourth all-time in assists (27), while leading the team to three NCAA Division II tournament berths including the four-overtime loss in the 2000 championship game.
“Alen is so sure of himself and he’s very team focused,” McCrath said. “He’s a real student of the game.”