Aristodemo Sees The Pros After Tulsa
Oct. 24, 2000
Tulsa, Oklahoma - Heralded Tulsa midfielder Robbie Aristodemo may have been passed over when the fifteen nominees for the coveted Hermann Trophy were posted, but that hasn't deterred Coach Tom McIntosh from lobbying for his best player to be added to the ballot.
"He should be in the running for both the Hermann and the MAC (Missouri Athletic Conference award)," McIntosh said. "He's been our best for four years. He's a key center midfielder. I know the other players nominated, and Robbie definitely belongs in the top fifteen."
Aristodemo grew up in Toronto, where he began playing soccer at an early age, thanks to the influence of his father.
Recreational ball turned into club, and before long, he was representing his country as a member of the Canadian National Team.
"I've been lucky to have been on four national teams," Aristodemo said. "I've played with the U-17, Under-20, and both the Olympic and Men's teams. It's just been unbelievable that I've been able to travel around the world and play against some of the top players in big tournaments. I just think it helped me to mature and it's helped me at the college level a great deal because I've been through a lot."
It was while he was playing with the U-19 Canadian team that he began contemplating the possibility of coming to the United States to continue pursuing his soccer career.
"A few of us from my club team got together to decide what we were going to do," Aristodemo said. "We were kind of at a stand-still. We weren't sure if we wanted to try to try out in Europe or what. So all of us decided we were going to promote ourselves and try to get scholarships. So we sent out resumes and we played in a few big tournaments where a lot of college scouts were. I guess at the time it was the only option we had."
Aristodemo came to Tulsa when he was 19 and made an immediate impact as a starter. He was second on the team in scoring and led the Hurricane in assists, and was named the Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year.
According to McIntosh, Aristodemo is the all-around best center midfielder the Tulsa men's program has ever had.
"Robbie is such an exciting player to watch," McIntosh said. "We've had to change his role into more of a defensive player, and so maybe his stats aren't as high as they should be since we're playing him out of his best spot. But Robbie is very difficult for anyone to handle. He is extremely quick, his work rate is excellent, and he very rarely makes mistakes. He does things with the ball that a lot of people aren't able to do."
Aristodemo has six goals and three assists on the season, giving him 15 points. He is ranked sixth among Tulsa's all-time assists with a total of 20.
Though the Hurricane haven't had quite as good a season as they'd initially hoped for, Aristodemo says his team is playing at a level capable of competing with the best.
"We're 7-5-1, which is not as good as we'd expected," he said. "Every game we've lost has been by one goal, which has been pretty frutrating. But we've competed with the top teams, which is one part I'm happy with, because we're at that level where we can compete with any team in the nation. Our goals now are to win the rest of our regular season games and go into the conference tournament with as high a seed as possible. We need to win that tournament to get into the NCAA. Hopefully we'll peak, and I think we're starting to peak right now."
Tulsa has only three games remaining in regular season before the Missouri Valley Conference tournament gets underway on November 10th in St. Louis.
As Aristodemo sees the end of his collegiate career looming on the not-so-distant horizon, he is shifting his focus towards the future. Soccer still remains very much a prominent part of that future.
"I'd like to play with the MLS, or in the European leagues," he said.
McIntosh feels his star player definitely has the talent to succeed in whatever he decides to pursue.
"He is definitely good enough," McIntosh said. "I believe he'll be able to continue playing."
Regardless of the outcome of Tulsa's eleventh-hour bid to promote him as a Hermann candidate, Aristodemo says he has been satisfied with his collegiate career.
"I've been fortunate," he said. "Coming to Tulsa I put high expectations on myself. I thought I'd have a pretty good career here. I had a feeling I'd do well at the college level."
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