Max Tassano already making an impact

Credit: Celia Ludwinski/Photo Editor Credit: Celia Ludwinski/Photo Editor

For many, getting admitted to Carnegie Mellon is an accomplishment in itself. The first semester allows recovering victims of senioritis a modest transition from high school to college. But for the first-years on the Carnegie Mellon’s men’s soccer team, coming to college meant business even before the school year began. With such a large pool of players trying out this year, it was clear that not everyone was going to make the final roster for the 2010 men’s soccer season. But if there was one name that seemed to resonate in people’s ears during preseason, it was that of first-year forward Max Tassano.

Having lost speedy forwards Ricky Griffin and Pat Lutz last season, Tassano, at an imposing 6'2", brought an extra dynamic to Carnegie Mellon’s attack — it was clear from the start that the tall and skilled Tassano was going to play a key role in the Tartans’ season. As a first-year, Tassano gradually became a starter for Carnegie Mellon this past season and impressively was the team’s leading goal scorer with seven goals.

“By the end of the year we had four or five freshmen starting. The freshmen are all a very tight group and we’re all really good friends ,and clearly this was reflected with the chemistry on the field,” Tassano said. “I think it was because of this understanding and familiarity amongst the freshmen that made it easier for Joey [Paladino] and I to get on the score sheet throughout the season.”

Like most student athletes at Carnegie Mellon, Tassano chose his university based on both academics and athletics. Having won state and regional championships with his Philadelphia-based club team Lower Merion Velez throughout all of high school, Tassano attracted a lot of attention and was able to keep his options for college open. But after visiting Carnegie Mellon his junior year, he knew early on that he would commit.

Similar to most of the guys on the team, Tassano follows international soccer. He enjoys watching London’s Arsenal Football Club and tries to emulate the style of play of English star forward Peter Crouch, whose play and body type are similar to Tassano’s. However, it was not always clear that soccer was going to be Tassano’s sport of choice. Baseball also took up most of Tassano’s athletic life. But after he broke his arm twice, Tassano started to focus more on soccer.

With his first semester already a large success here at Carnegie Mellon, Tassano has even higher aspirations for his collegiate career.

“I really think that we will be strong contenders for the national championship in the coming years. This is our goal, and we think we can make a really strong push even as early as next year,” Tassano said. “As for myself, I guarantee you that I will be in the weight room throughout all of this winter and spring. For me that was definitely the biggest difference in college-level soccer. Definitely the physicality.”