Reserved freshman GK Austin Aviza works to replace Alex Bono

first_img Published on September 8, 2015 at 9:36 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @ChrisLibonati Bent at the knee, Austin Aviza signed eight posters and four T-shirts for young fans standing at the black fence near the entrance of SU Soccer Stadium.Dressed head to toe in a green No. 0 jersey and green shorts, his sweaty gloves, shin guards and cleats had been pulled off. At the beginning of the autograph line, he briefly talked to a woman and at the end of the line said “Thank you.” Save for those moments, Aviza didn’t speak.“He’s a prototypical New Englander where he keeps his mouth shut and does his business,” Bryan Scales, the New England Revolution Director of Youth Development said.The tight-lipped freshman is replacing Alex Bono, both SU’s best and most vocal player from last year’s team, in net. Aviza didn’t know he would have a shot at the starting role until early January when Bono joined Generation Adidas and declared for the Major League Soccer draft.Bono recruited Aviza to Syracuse and was a major reason why he committed to SU. Graduate assistant coach Matt Stith believes Aviza matches up well with freshman-year Bono skill-wise, but knows that the newly anointed goalkeeper needs time and experience to gain Bono’s intangibles.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I definitely think he’s going to be someone the coaches and the players will fall on to be a leader,” New England Revolution goalkeeping coach Remi Roy said, “because you don’t have a choice as a goalkeeper. It comes with the position.”As Stith kicked a few balls to Aviza’s left, right and over his head at halftime against Rutgers on Sunday, the freshman goalie’s predecessor was the answer to a trivia question posed over the loudspeaker — Who is the highest-selected Syracuse player in the MLS draft?Their similar playing style and 6-foot-3 frames made John and Eileen Aviza confident in sending Austin to Syracuse rather than UCLA, Louisville and Georgetown and initially planning on Bono mentoring their son.“The first time we stepped in, (Bono was) looking out, trying to convince him to come and was kind of talking to him on the side, which I thought was incredible,” John Aviza, Austin’s dad, said. “He’s already talking to this kid two years out, trying to persuade him to think about coming here.”Aviza is a technician in net much like Bono, Stith said. Even when Aviza makes saves in practice, he sometimes corrects himself because he didn’t make the “right save.” Stith said Aviza and the other goalies on the team get pissed off if they make the “wrong” save.“If one rep I tip it around the post, the next rep I try to catch that one,” Aviza said.The details are the key to being technical, a trait that Aviza has carried through from high school. Johnny, Austin’s brother, said Austin would walk out the door in the morning with a list of what he needed to do, where he needed to be and when he needed to be there. That’s translated into simply making sure he makes the right save.Unlike Bono, Aviza is reserved. Rather than leading vocally, he leads more by example, Scales said. Roy and Johnny both said Aviza had trouble speaking up on the field and demanding more of his teammates early in his career.“The Revolution Academy, they really stressed to him that if you want to play on an elite level, you need to start screaming and yelling at these guys,” Johnny said.Aviza does direct defenders on where to send the ball, but after SU goals, Aviza walks back to the net with no fist pump, sometimes hardly even a smile. Even when he allows a goal, Aviza remains relatively calm with no more than a wave of the arms.Jim Davock, the father of Aviza’s friend and Boston College forward Trevor Davock, coached Austin when he played basketball. He said Aviza’s seriousness might be mistaken for silence. With a few minutes to play in a youth championship game, Davock called a timeout and as he was in the huddle, he looked at Austin.“He had that look in his eyes like, ‘You know what? We’re going to win this game,’” Davock said. “And he took over down the stretch and put the game away.”To break his typically steely facade, Aviza will zone out by himself before warming up for games, with hip-hop and rap thumping in his headphones — Johnny says the song most likely vibrating in his brother’s ears is “Cinderella Man” by Eminem.Roy and Johnny said Aviza becomes more talkative as he becomes comfortable. Even Bono was thrown in as a freshman, and in three years, became the best goalie in the country. One thing Aviza needs is time — but it’s also the one thing he can’t accelerate.“It’s definitely gotten better through the years,” Roy said. “But it is part of his personality, so I don’t know if he’ll ever be somebody who will be a shouter or a screamer.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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