NEW YORK - Columbia's Kynan Rocks has taken his talents to the Premier Development League (PDL), where he has been playing summer soccer for the Lakeland Tropics.
The central Florida based team play in the Southern Conference's Southeast Division of the PDL, which is comprised of nine squads from Florida.
2017 marks the inaugural year for the Tropics, who are coached by Eoghan Conlon, an assistant at Florida Southern. Conlon hails from Carrigaline, Ireland, which is near the same part of the country that Rocks grew up. While Conlon was only somwhat aware of his fellow countryman that plays college soccer in New York, a call to Columbia head coach Kevin Anderson about playing this summer helped seal the deal.
“I knew nobody before heading down and had no idea what to expect,” Rocks said. “I have been fortunate though as they are a great bunch of lads and I have really enjoyed my time down here.”
Lakeland got off to a fast start, winning six of its first seven games to take third in the division, which is led by SIMA Aguilas at 8-0-1. The start has been tough for Rocks, who has been sidelined with a minor injury after the second game that he hopes to return from soon.
As of now, the junior-to-be has not booked any flights back to Ireland for the summer, as the season looks to be extended with a playoff run. Rocks does hope to make it home prior to the fall season at Columbia, where high hopes arise after a 2016 Ivy League title.
“Playing competitively over the summer will help me both physically and mentally ahead of our preseason at Columbia,” said Rocks. “I think ahead of preseason, our team will be full of confidence and even hungrier than before to become champions again. Personally, being part of a winning team and being surrounded by the mentality of winners has helped my own mentality and given me the confidence to play in a new team and in a league I have not played in before."