HOOVER, Ala. – Georgetown attacker Steve Neumann wasn’t blessed with top-rate athleticism. He can’t run a sub-11 100, or post a 35-inch vertical. In fact, Georgetown head coach Brian Wiese said he took a chance on offering the Philadelphia native a scholarship, unsure if he could cope with the athleticism needed to survive a season in the Big East.
Those doubts have been put to rest.
On Friday night, Neumann set Alabama alight, scoring the first hat-trick in the College Cup in nearly 20 years as he led his Hoyas past Maryland into Sunday’s title game (2 pm ET; ESPNU, ESPN3.com).
“You always dream of having games like this on a big stage,” Neumann told reporters after the game. “I’m just very fortunate for it to happen in the season.”
Neumann gets by on smarts, vision and technical skill, so it’s no surprise when he says he models his game after Sporting Kansas City’s Graham Zusi, who wowed precisely no one with his athletic prowess at the combine.
“I went in to train with Sporting KC for a week this summer and I was really impressed by Graham Zusi and the way he was able to play in the hole and connect with his forwards while scoring some goals,” Neumann told MLSsoccer.com. “I think he’s been a good role model in terms of the way he plays for me to get a sense of how I want to play.”
Prior to a breakout 2011 season that’s seen the SKC midfielder gain a regular spot on the national team, Zusi was perhaps best known for his 2008 College Cup performance in which he scored game-winners in both the semi-finals and championship, leading Maryland to their third title.
However, while Neumann’s hat trick will go down in College Cup history, it doesn’t mean a whole lot if his Hoyas can’t bring home a trophy on Sunday.
“The challenge for our guys is just letting go [of Friday’s win] … and shifting gears to total preparations for Indiana,” Wiese told reporters on Saturday.
Despite three prolific seasons at Georgetown, Neumann has not been rumored to be up for a Generation adidas contract at season’s end. But another master class performance on Sunday could change things.
Having played last summer in the PDL for Philadelphia Union assistant coach Brandon Burke, John Hackworth’s side is certainly familiar with the Philadelphia area native and perhaps one day soon, Neumann will be running the midfield at PPL Park.
“My dad has season tickets for the Philadelphia Union games, so I’ve been to a bunch of those and that atmosphere is unbelievable,” said Neumann. “It’s something that you watch those games and you want to be a part of it and keep seeing it grow.”