FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Luke Spencer lived the dream for four days before it was (temporarily) taken away.
Drafted by the New England Revolution in the second round (23rd overall) of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, Spencer traveled with the Revs to their preseason camp in Casa Grande, Ariz., hoping to fulfill his boyhood aspirations of becoming a professional soccer player.
But the dream came crashing to a halt on just his fourth day in camp.
While dribbling toward goal during a routine training session, Spencer planted awkwardly and tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. It’s an injury which requires reconstructive surgery and anywhere from six to nine months of recovery time.
Just like that, Spencer’s chance to make the 2013 Revolution squad was gone.
“I went from high to low real quick,” Spencer said. “I was just frustrated at the time.”
But Spencer wasted little time feeling sorry for himself and immediately found a silver lining. With his pro soccer dreams on hold, the 22-year-old re-enrolled at Xavier University and recently completed his degree.
His sights still firmly set on a soccer career, Spencer filled his time between classes rehabbing his knee and he’s now nearing full health seven months after his preseason injury.
“Right now I feel like I have a little bit of strengthening left and a lot of mental confidence left,” Spencer said. “It’s just trying to trust it and trust those movements that I usually would and getting that extra step back.”
Spencer’s rehab is currently continuing in New England, where he recently rejoined the Revolution players he last saw in Casa Grande back in January. Although he’s still limited to strengthening exercises, jogging and passing drills, Spencer couldn’t hide his excitement at simply being back in Revs camp.
“It’s great,” he said with a smile. “It’s nice to see the guys again and it’s nice to just be in the environment. I’ve gotten in some passing drills and it’s been a much better standard than what I’ve been playing with back home. It’s just been a good couple days.”
“It’s good to see how much he’s progressed,” head coach Jay Heaps said of Spencer. “It was a tough situation for a young kid, a draft pick, to take an injury in preseason, but it’s good to have him back here so we can see where he is health-wise and see what he’s doing in his recovery.”
Eventually, Spencer hopes to fulfill his dream and become a professional soccer player. Perhaps it will be with the Revolution. But for now, he’s simply focused on getting healthy.
“First things first, I’ve just got to get back to where I was,” Spencer said. “Then I’ll worry about playing for whoever when that chance comes and taking that opportunity that’s presented to me.”