All-Big East forward Eliseo Giusfredi has left the Seton Hall soccer program to pursue a professional contract in Europe.
The Seton Hall junior has chosen to forgo his final year of eligibility and will depart for Spain later today to join Spartak Moscow, which is wrapping up pre-season training. Giusfredi has yet to finalize a deal with the Russian club but is in negotiations to sign.
"It has always been my dream to play professionally and this is a great opportunity," Giusfredi told SBI on Friday. "I feel like this is the right time for me to go."
Giusfredi had planned to sign with Major League Soccer but was unable to sign with the league after MLS determined that his lack of American citizenship or a green card made him a player the league couldn’t sign, a source with knowledge of Giusfredi’s situation told SBI.
"I was ready to play here (in MLS) but the league decided I couldn’t," Giusfredi said. "It was upsetting that the league couldn’t do more for me because I wanted to stay here and play here."
Giusfredi scored 10 goals and added eight assists in 16 games for Seton Hall in 2007, earning All-Big East First Team honors. He finished his Seton Hall career with 30 goals and 15 assists in three seasons.
Giusfredi will join Spartak Moscow in Spain, where the club is training ahead of its UEFA Cup clash with French club Marseille on Wednesday. Spartak Moscow finished in second place in the Russian Premier League in 2007. The 2008 Russian season is set to begin in mid-March.
A native of Argentina and product of the River Plate youth academy, Giusfredi came to the United States as a teenager and played all four years of high school soccer in New Jersey (one year with Eastside, three more with St. Joseph, Montvale).
Giusfredi cited his desire to help his family financially, as well as his concerns about injury, as the key factors in his decision to leave school.
"I’m 21 now and I feel like I would be wasting time if I waited another year to become a professional," Giusfredi said. "I have an opportunity now and I’m going to take it."