For the elite players of Penn men’s soccer, four seasons with the Red and Blue do not mark the end of their soccer careers.
That is the case for Duke Lacroix, who, after graduating in 2014, has taken his talents to the Indy Eleven of the North American Soccer League (NASL).
Lacroix’s name will be in the Quakers’ record books for a long time. He ranks fifth in points and third in games played and is also only the third Penn player to merit All-Ivy status in all four seasons on campus. More importantly, he left a mark at Rhodes Field that will linger for many years to come.
“Duke is a special player,” coach Rudy Fuller said. “He certainly left a legacy in our program in terms of what he was able to do on the field and the impact he made on our program in a number of ways.”
After finishing his soccer career at Penn, Lacroix started prepping for the 2015 MLS Superdraft in January. That included rigorous training and attending numerous scouting combines. Lacroix only has positive memories from that period.
“It was awesome. It was a great experience. I just went there and enjoyed every second of it,” Lacroix said. “It was a bit intimidating with coaches from the MLS and other leagues and even agents.”
In the end, Lacroix was not drafted, most likely because of his desire to finish his college education in the spring, according to Fuller.
With that, Lacroix spent more time training. He spent breaks and long weekends traveling to various NASL clubs on a trial basis.
“He had a few different options in the NASL and the USL Pro,” Fuller said. He also noted that “[Lacroix] felt really comfortable with the situation in Indianapolis both from a coaching staff perspective and how he thought he’d fit in with the team.”
Lacroix went on to sign with the Indy Eleven. So far, he finds himself fitting in nicely with his new club.
“It’s awesome right now. I love every second of it,” Lacroix said. “Great environment, awesome crowd.”
Even though he went undrafted, there is still a significant chance that Lacroix could receive offers to play in MLS or overseas.
“Both Duke and myself have a lot of confidence in his ability and his future and what he’ll be able to do if he continues pursuing,” Fuller said.
The future looks bright for Lacroix, who has earned significant playing time for Indy. Even more promising, Fuller believes that Lacroix could still reach greater levels to his game.
“He’s still got another bunch of levels to climb. He developed so far in the four years we had him but I still feel he can go so much further,” Fuller said. “In the proper environment, with the right support and with Duke’s work ethic, he will continue to get better and better. And he’s got a lot of God-given ability.”
The future is far from set, and Lacroix’s sole focus for now is to keep improving. “
In the near future, I want to perform well here,” Lacroix said. “I want to do the best I can and give myself an opportunity.”
“I’m not one to close the door on any opportunity.”
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