West Virginia wins over Pottsgrove’s Larmond

Rushawn Larmond faced a difficult choice.

It wasn’t the choice of where to commit his future on National Signing Day though.

Signing with Division I West Virginia was the easy part for the Pottsgrove senior, the validation of taking the road less traveled.

The difficult choice was years before, the one that first laid the groundwork for making Wednesday’s signature possible.

The Pottsgrove senior has always had high soccer aspirations. Many do. What sets the versatile forward apart is he has the talent to match.

When he was faced with the prospect of entering the United States Soccer Developmental Academy, the U.S. national team’s training system, as a Pottsgrove junior, the decision wasn’t simple.

But he knew then — just as he knows now — that joining the Continental FC Delco U-17/18 squad and giving up the chance to play high school with his Pottsgrove teammates was pivotal in getting him to where he wanted to go.

“Giving up high school (soccer) was a hard decision, not being able to play with your friends and last year and this year I would have gotten to play with my little brother (Germann Larmond), which would have been extremely fun,’ Larmond said.

“But it’s worth it at the end of the day.’

In the fall, the payoff will be in Morgantown, W.Va., as a member of the Mountaineers men’s soccer program.

“It was such a natural fit. Everything felt great,’ Larmond said. “I felt at home. The coach, the way they interact with you, the players, I felt like I knew everyone for years.’

Under ninth-year coach Marlon LeBlanc, West Virginia was on the cusp of the top 30 in the nation during the 2014 season, finishing with an 11-7-1 record after a season-ending overtime loss in the Mid-American Conference semifinals.

Larmond was discovered by the Mountaineers staff in June 2014.

“The Academy has playoffs or, if your team does not make the playoffs, a showcase. The playoffs and showcase were at Indiana and the coach came to my game to watch. I happened to have a good game.

“After the conclusion of the showcase, the assistant coach emailed me and told me they were interested and wanted to get me down (to Morgantown) as soon as possible for a visit.’

The showcase game was far from the only good game by Larmond, who was a Pa. Soccer Coaches Association All-State selection his sophomore year for Pottsgrove.

The USSDA system features teams around the nation grouped into three conferences (East, Central and West) in a season that spans from September to June. Larmond’s Continental FC Delco team plays in the Atlantic Division with the likes of the academy teams for Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls.

Through the first half of the season — the East Conference takes a winter break until March — Larmond is the top scorer in the East with 12 goals in 14 games and ranks in the top 10 nationally though his individual success hasn’t translated to team success for 3-10-2 Continental FC Delco. Larmond hopes to get both in line when the season resumes March 8.

“More than (my own scoring record), I’m trying to get more wins this year,’ he said. “We dropped a lot of games in the fall that we should have won.’

Nevertheless, the atmosphere around Continental FC Delco, which trains 4-5 times per week and plays its games at the Proving Grounds in Conshohocken, has helped Larmond elevate his game.

“The structure of the academy has a more professional aspect to it. My training has picked up. I take practice more seriously,’ Larmond said. “My touch has improved a lot, my speed of play has picked up significantly. I understand the game more than I did a couple years ago.’

Wednesday marked a milepost for what Larmond, the son of Colin and Dawn Larmond, hopes leads to the ultimate destination.

“Ever since I was little I always wanted to be a professional soccer player. I remember watching my dad play; he loved the game and I love the game, too,’ he said.

He believes West Virginia can be a place to make that happen. It’s certainly not unprecedented.

“They are up and coming,’ Larmond said of the Mountaineers. “A senior this year got drafted by Seattle Sounders, Andy Bevin.

“I feel like I’m going in the right direction.’

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply