TJ Bernhard wants to become a professional soccer player.
Now, thanks partly to NCE Soccer, he will at least have the skillset to investigate what went wrong, if he doesn’t make the grade.
TJ will study Criminal Justice at Monmouth University for the next four years.
One day, he hopes those studies will see him become a Crime Scene Investigator.
But before all of that, TJ has just one thing on his mind and he hopes Division One Soccer with the Monmouth Hawkes will provide him with a launchpad into the pro game.
TJ, said; “I want to work towards becoming a crime scene investigator one day, but after my four years at Monmouth, I want to pursue a professional soccer career.
“When I say this to people, they think I’m crazy most of the time. But I believe in myself and my work rate, and given how far I’ve already come along, I believe I can make it.
“Knowing it is extremely hard to make it, it makes me know in every training session and game I have to work harder than everyone else to make my dream come true.”
The NCE Soccer coaches can certainly vouch for TJ’s work rate and his commitment to the game.
He has been playing soccer literally since he could walk, studying the beautiful game whenever possible, following the careers of the world’s greatest players.
TJ, added: “I started playing soccer when I was five-years-old and my parents always said that they knew soccer was my favorite sport, compared to the others I played when I was a kid.
“I started getting more and more serious about soccer when I was around 11/12, when I stopped playing the other sports I played, so I can thoroughly focus on soccer.
“Watching the great players of the world such as Messi, Ronaldo, Henry, Iniesta etc when I was really young made me fall in love with the game.
“My whole life has revolved around the game and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
“Without soccer I honestly have no idea where I would be, I would be lost. The game has taught me so much, on and off the field.”
TJ’s desire to improve led him to NCE Soccer in the Winter of 2017 and, the defender from Shirley, New York, progressed quickly through the ranks.
He has represented NCE at Select events and Showcases, captaining teams and making his mark on scouts watching on from Universities and Colleges.
He added: “NCE has helped me develop so much as a player and person. I joined NCE in the winter of 2017, after passing my trial for the training program.
“Ever since joining the program, all of their trainings, showcases, select tournaments have made me into the player I am today. I cannot thank Coach John, Coach Liam, Coach Lee, Coach Oscar enough and the rest of the staff for having a huge everlasting impact on my development as a player and as a person.
“Through the training sessions at NCE I saw major improvement within my play thanks to the great coaches. Having that many experienced coaches around me teaching me enabled me to learn so many different things about the game.
“I have been offered many top opportunities through NCE such as multiple Select tournaments where I got to captain the side, two games versus the ID2 National Team and PDA Academy U19, and all of the showcases and trainings where I got to improve and perform my best, I couldn’t be more grateful.”
TJ’s performances on the field, backed by his academic ability in the classroom, caught the eye of Monmouth University with a helping hand from NCE Soccer.
Once TJ and his family visited the stunning campus in West Long Branch, New Jersey, their hearts were set and the move.
He added: “NCE, Coach John, and the rest of the staff were able to offer me many experiences that would be extremely valuable to my college process.
“Through the recent years, when my college search began, Coach John was able to help me, as well as many other NCE soccer students, by giving us opportunities of tournaments, showcases, camps and trainings with and in front of college coaches that would help us get recruited and learn more and more about the process.
“Coach John would always put us players first and his main priority was always to help educate us about the game as well as the college process.
“I chose Monmouth because it gives me the opportunity to obtain a very valuable education and it is a great place for me to continue chasing my dream of playing professional soccer and playing the game I love.
“I visited the campus to see how I liked it and as soon as I got there I knew that’s where I wanted to be, I felt this was the perfect place for me to grow as a player and as a person.
“From watching the team practice for a bit, to seeing all of the beautiful buildings and facilities at Monmouth I was definitely able to see myself attend the next four years of my life there.
TJ will remain closely connected with NCE Soccer as his brother Hunter, a 12-year-old goalkeeper, is part of the COE Program.
Coach Curtis, said: “We are delighted for TJ and I’m sure he will enjoy great success at Monmouth.
“He has a great work ethic and is a real talent, now it is up to him to continue his progresss by working hard and staying humble but I have no doubts in his abilities as a player and a person.
“It is hugely satisfying to see so many of our players graduating through the system and going onto secure places at top Universities and Colleges, it’s why we do what we do!”
* To follow in TJ’s footsteps and become part of the Center of Excellence Program register your interest via this link.