All-American Gruenewald embarks on pro soccer career

Playing soccer is a full-time job for former Fayetteville-Manlius star J.D. Gruenewald.

After wrapping up a stellar college career at Rollins College, Gruenewald is living out his dream of playing professional soccer with the Charleston Battery of the United Soccer League First Division, which is a level below the Major Soccer League.

The 23-year-old midfielder signed with the Battery in March and is listed on the team roster. The Battery opened their season April 17.

At Rollins College, a Division II school in Winter Park, Fla., Gruenewald had 10 goals and 12 assists last season. He finished his career at Rollins with 26 goals scored and set school records for assists (42) and games played (76).

Gruenewald received several post-season honors as he made first team All-American and he was selected as the Sunshine State Conference Player of the Year. He was also a Division II Academic All-American. Gruenewald graduated with a B.A. in economics in May 2009 and is working on his M.B.A. this spring.

Despite his busy schedule, Gruenewald answered some questions regarding his career, past and present. Here's what he had to say.

How do you think you have grown as a soccer player since your F-M days?

I think I have grown the most in my ability to use my left-foot. Over the past five years my left-foot has developed enough to where I can strike the ball just as hard, if not harder with it than my right, and I have actually become more comfortable beating defenders to the left than to the right. This development has really made me much more dangerous as an offensive threat both scoring and assisting on goals.

What does it mean to you to be named All-American?

Being an All-American is a great honor individual honor, but it would never be possible without the contributions my teammates. In high school my F-M teammates helped me become noticed on a national level and the same can be said about teammates on my Rollins team during this past season.

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