MCCC Soccer All-Americans Aburmad and Kenny
On Hunt for National Treasures


West Windsor, N.J. - Amit Aburmad and Kasey Kenny came to Mercer County Community College from places far apart, yet they arrived at the school sharing the same goals and values. Both want to have the same opportunity in November - a shot at winning a national championship - yet they'd be chasing their dreams, once again, in places far apart.

MCCC's two All-American soccer players from 2008 are trying to spark their respective teams to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I soccer championships. MCCC will host the men's tournament from November 18-22, while the women's tournament will be held over the same dates in Tyler, Texas.

The two sophomores are similar all the way down to their love of music. Aburmad plays the guitar, while Kenny jokes, "Any Michael Jackson music, I am dusting off the table and doing a moonwalk across." But it's their inner drive and ability to motivate teammates that bond them. Both perceive the opportunities in front of their teams as motivating factors more than pressure.

"I think this kind of pressure is positive," Aburmad, a midfielder, says. "When you play soccer, basketball, whatever you do, as an athlete, as a sportsman, you need something to push you to be the best.

"We need to push ourselves every game. When we play whatever team, you look in their eyes and you see how they want to beat us. We are one of the best teams in the country and we have so many championships (eight national titles). It's good that we need to come out and work hard and be ready."

Kenny, a forward, adds, "We've been playing some teams that we've been beating 8-0, 7-0. I don't want my team to get too used to that because when the hard games come we need to step it up."

When the post season rolls around, both Vikings squads will follow the lead of these top scorers, who have valuable experience from last year's successes. Coach Charlie Inverso's men's soccer squad qualified for the national tournament for the eighth straight season in 2008, while coach Jodie Ricciardi's women's soccer squad won the Region 19 title, but fell one victory short of reaching the national tournament in the District G title game. Kenny says reaching that game and then scoring in it was the highlight of her freshman season, but considers the overtime goal that Monroe Community College scored to win 3-2 as the season's lasting image. Hence, that game has motivated Kenny throughout her sophomore season.

Amit Aburmad
Kasey Kenny

"Obviously, there are going to be rough games, there's going to be tough times," Kenny says. "But striving through those tough times is what's going to make us and build our character. That's what I try to remind teammates all the time. It's these times, where we're sweating and we're sprinting every day, that's what's going to make us better on the field."

The 5'5" Kenny is a native of Staten Island, N.Y. The Liberal Arts major eventually wants to be a soccer coach, and she has a good start as the emotional leader of this year's team. Last year, she scored 29 goals while earning 2008 NJCAA Division I All-American honors and is ahead of that pace this season.

Aburmad, who had 19 goals in his All-American season as a freshman, is as likely to set up a teammate for a goal as he is scoring one. A quick, 5'6" player, his playing style sparks others. The Business major has followed the path of some past MCCC players who came from Israel to play for Inverso. His parents, Michael and Lior Aburmad, plan to fly from their native Tel Aviv to attend the national tournament at MCCC.

Aburmad is one of the men's soccer players who often admires the most recent national championship ring (2004) that adorns Coach Inverso's hand. "Last year, I made All-American and I had a good season," Aburmad says. "This year, my goal is to win the ring."

More information about the NJCAA men's soccer tournament is available here.

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