Former Laker was on one of best GVSU soccer club teams.
Josh Peick-Grand Valley Lanthorn
When the clock hits zero in the final game of a senior season, many soccer players hang up their cleats knowing the days of playing competitive soccer are over. It's off to recreational leagues and pick-up soccer. But for Grand Valley State alumnus and former GVSU men's soccer club player Nick Abdoo, his serious competitive playing career is just getting started.
Abdoo, a Lowell, Michigan native, started his college soccer career playing on Indiana Tech's varsity squad. After switching majors from engineering to mathematics, Abdoo decided to transfer to GVSU to live closer to home. His presence on the GVSU men's soccer club had an immediate impact.
"He provided us with a good, solid player with a lot of speed," said GVSU soccer club head coach Jeff Crooks. "That's his strength, without a doubt.
"His senior year was probably the best team we've ever had at Grand Valley."
In 2012, GVSU made it to the national tournament for the first year in the program's history. The Lakers were bounced in the semifinal game, but won the following consolation game.
After his graduation in April of 2013, Abdoo still had the urge to continue playing competitive soccer. He played in a recreation league in Grand Rapids and even joined the Great Lakes Beach Soccer team. In his first year on the team, Abdoo and the GLBS earned runner-up honors at the Major Beach Soccer League National Championships in Clearwater Beach, Florida.
Then in 2015, Grand Rapids Football Club, a community-funded professional team, started its inaugural season. After hanging up his cleats following the 2012 GVSU season and replacing them with sandals, Abdoo still had the itch to play traditional soccer competitively.
"It has always been a thought in my mind, but I don't think if it wasn't for GRFC that I would have gone out for anything else," Abdoo said.
Looking for local talent to boost attendance, GRFC awarded Abdoo a spot on the team.
"Playing in front of your home city and in front of your friends and family, there wasn't really a question in my mind to come out and play for them," Abdoo said.
In the first year of the team's existence, GRFC finished second in the newly formed Great Lakes Premier League. GRFC also beat a few teams in the National Premier Soccer League, which is a step up in competition from the GLPL.
"Being a brand new team, I think we had a much more successful year than a lot of people anticipated," Abdoo said.
GRFC is now a part of the NPSL and will host 10 games at Houseman Field in Grand Rapids this season. Before GRFC begins play against NPSL opponents, it will play three games against West Michigan college teams, including GVSU. The Lakers will host GRFC on April 15 at Lubbers Stadium.
Abdoo is one of many examples of the Laker Effect, where the GVSU community has an impact on West Michigan and beyond. Abdoo is not only helping bring the Grand Rapids community together through soccer, but he is also showing athletes in club sports that it is possible to make it to the next level through hard work and dedication.