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As a four-year member of the Hofstra men's soccer team Gary Flood was a fixture on defense, playing in 82 games. He was so entrenched on the back line that he didn't miss a single minute in his freshman and senior years. His endurance proved to be a good thing for the Pride, as the team won three consecutive Colonial Athletic Association Championships and made three NCAA Tournament appearances during his tenure. Flood was a first team all-conference selection as a senior and was named the Most Outstanding Player at the 2005 CAA Championship. He also was named to the all-region team by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America as a junior and senior.
Flood now plies his trade at the highest level in his sport, playing professionally for the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer. Selected with the 25th pick in the 2007 MLS Supplemental Draft, Flood made the roster following training camp and signed a contract with the club in March. He was one of 18 players chosen for the active roster heading into the season opener against the Chicago Fire, and fought his way into the starting lineup as a defender. He played 80 minutes in the Revolution's 1-0 loss, coming out of the game in the closing minutes as the Revolution attempted to push forward and net the tying goal. Flood has played in four of New England's games, including a second start against Rochester on July 10 and has helped the Revolution to a 10-4-6 record and a second place standing in the MLS Eastern Division.
Making the jump from the college game to the pro ranks hasn't been easy, as Flood explains, "This is still so new to me and it has been such a great experience so far, just getting to play in practice with all of these guys. I grew up watching the MLS and some of these players on TV, and now I get to play with all of them. It has taken a little while to get used to the changes from college to the pro game, but I feel like I have had a pretty good adjustment to all of that, and now I am just trying to find my spot on the team. We have such a great team that it is hard for rookies to crack the rotation, but you have to put your work in and keep playing hard, and hopefully good things will come about for me."
"Starting the game in Chicago was great," said Flood. "My parents and brother, Justin (a member of the Hofstra men's soccer team), were there, and just walking out onto the field at the beginning of the game was a rush. There was a bit of nerves, of course, but once the game got underway it is just second nature to start playing, and I tend to forget about the crowd and stuff like that. I did find time to give my mom a wave a couple of times. The fact that my parents were there to see me on the field is something I will never forget."
Hofstra has had several student-athletes play professional soccer, mainly in lower-level leagues, but Flood is the first Hofstra player to reach Major League Soccer and is quick to credit his Hofstra experience for helping him reach this level. "My career at Hofstra prepared me more than enough for the professional ranks," Flood said. "I had top-level coaching, and the level of play was as high as it can get. I think playing at Hofstra was just what I needed in order to best prepare myself to play in the MLS. I learned so much from everyone I played with at Hofstra and from everyone who coached at Hofstra, and I kept it all with me."
While Flood plays for New England, Hofstra is never far from his mind. "I plan on staying involved as a fan, as Justin still has two more years at Hofstra. I would also like to help the team out in any way possible, and the best way for me to do that is to keep playing well and getting Hofstra's name out there."