Player countdown: Jay Nolly

How it all came to be...

Jay Nolly began his soccer career when he was four years old growing up in Maryland playing soccer with his two older brothers. Nolly played a year of co-ed recreation soccer until he and his family moved to Colorado when he was five years old.

In Colorado, Nolly joined up with Club Columbine, who later changed their name to Colorado Rush, where he was a forward/midfielder. When he was 13 years old, his coach decided to try him at goalkeeper. Nolly remembers not embracing the position at first, because he wanted to be up top scoring goals and running around. In addition, he felt that being a forward or midfielder was more a part of his game.

In time, Nolly grew to like the position, due to the relaxed, laid-backed personality that many goalkeepers possess. He excelled in the nets, eventually earning him a spot on the Colorado Regional Team, which in turn led to a spot as a member of the Youth National Team with future Real Salt Lake teammate, DJ Countess. Peter Mellor, Real Salt Lake's goalkeeper coach, was also Nolly's coach when he was on the Youth National Team.

The 23-year old was noticed by Indiana University and earned a four year scholarship at the NCAA power. After taking his recruiting trip to Indiana University, he immediately fell in love with the school and knew that it was where he wanted to attend school and play. Nolly helped the Hoosiers to three NCAA College Cup appearances, four-regular season Big Ten titles, two Big Ten Tournament titles and back-to-back NCAA National Championships in 2003 and 2004. An avid fisher, Nolly was also a member of the Indiana University Bass Fishing Team.

In January, Nolly participated in the 2005 adidas MLS Combine and did not expect to be drafted as high as he was. His first stint with Major League Soccer kicks off this season with Real Salt Lake, who selected him 22nd overall in the second round of the 2005 MLS SuperDraft. Nolly was excited to be picked by RSL due to the chance to move close to his R.M. roots. Nolly describes the move from Indiana University to professional soccer as an easy transition.

Nolly adjusted quickly to being a member of RSL because of his relationship with Mellor, Kenny Cutler, Nelson Akwari, DJ Countess, Jordan Cila and Bryan Jackson from numerous teams he has played on. Through various sources, Nolly also heard that RSL Head Coach John Ellinger was an amazing coach and is excited to show to develop under such great leadership.

Coach Ellinger's call...

"Jay Nolly had a great 2005 MLS Combine and that is how I first noticed him. I thought that he showed himself as the best goalkeeper at the combine, and that is why we made him our target in the second round. Nolly is definitely a 'keeper that can push DJ Countess to be his best and is somebody that can step in if needed. Winning back-to-back NCAA Championship titles shows his pedigree."

Field Vision: Midfielder Kenny Cutler says...

"With two NCAA National Championships, Jay has proven he can win at the highest level. With three goalkeepers on the team this year, Jay will definitely compete for a starting spot. He is a big guy who covers a lot of the goal and his intimidating presence is his biggest asset."

Things you need to know...

Nickname:

Nolly the Goalie, Bird, Jaybird

Hobbies:

Fishing, golf, snowboarding, outdoor activities, basketball, football

Major in college:

Education

Most memorable moments:

Winning two National Championships at Indiana University; Last touch of his college career was a PK save to win championship

Favorite music:

Punk, Country

Favorite movie:

Top Gun

Favorite food:

Pizza

Favorite book:

"King of Torts" by John Grisham

Favorite TV show:

Simpsons

Favorite athlete outside of soccer:

Peter Forsberg

Greatest accomplishments:

Two college National Championships

Charities/Causes:

Make a Wish Foundation


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