“Kyle is a very humble kid. He doesn’t like accolades and it was even difficult for him to talk about himself up during the recruiting process to anyone outside of the immediate coaches he was talking to. His goal is to become a physician, but in the back of his mind, I do think that he sees there are opportunities to play professional soccer. I don’t know if that’s the route he wants to take, but of course, you never close any doors until they’re shut for you.” said James Bartleson, Team Manager for the South Jersey Elite Barons or SJEB Rush, about his son, Kyle Bartleson.
Kyle is this week’s featured athlete in the ongoing EDP College Commitment Series and has committed to play as a freshman at Saint Joseph’s University on the Men’s Soccer Team in 2020.
In high school, Kyle Bartleson was a double sport athlete in lacrosse and soccer, as well as a 2019 Cape-Atlantic League All-Stars First team Midfield selection and an Academic Honor Roll Honors List student for his high school, SaintAugustine Prep.
When asked about his journey from youth recreation leagues and what has brought him to being recruited by a Division I school, Kyle explains, “I started when I was younger playing just rec soccer, before moving onto a local club. At that time, it was just for fun. Later, as I progressed in skill and wanted to move up in competition, I moved onto a team which was an hour and a half away. I’d say at a young age I was pretty dedicated. I didn't have the premonition of going to the next level until my sophomore or junior year of high school. In the earlier years of high school, I was playing two sports, lacrosse and soccer. At that point, I was leaning more towards lacrosse after finishing high school."
He then continued, to say, “However, once I considered it, the big picture, really thought about my family and the decision of putting my eggs all in one basket, the choice became soccer.”
As a player on the SJEB Rush, Kyle’s coach, Don Dambra is also the head coach of the Saint Joseph’s Men’s Soccer team and allowed Kyle the perfect opportunity to be scouted on a more intimate level, for one of his top colleges after high school.
Kyle’s father, James, states, “Kyle fell in love with Coach Don from the beginning, who’s the head coach at Saint Joe’s. He just loved playing for him and Saint Joe’s was easily at the top of his list. But of course, with NCAA rules, we didn’t know where Kyle stood with Saint Joe’s. So, we started this whole recruiting process and were heavily involved with other schools in the area, but we really didn't know where we stood with Don. Even though Don was his coach and had said from the onset, I’ll evaluate you all year long and at seasons end we’ll talk. It was a weird position at the time. He just fell in love with the area, the school, and Coach Don. I just think the Saint Joes's is going to be a great fit for him.”
While at Saint Joseph’s University, Kyle plans on majoring in biology and focusing on a career in medicine. He explains how he sees his future currently, stating, “To be honest I haven’t thought too much after college about soccer. I know sports don’t last forever and there always has to be a plan after playing. The body gets older and wears out. It’s great to play during college and gain that experience, but my academics come first. I was thinking about going to medical school after college and if there is an opportunity to keep playing, whether it’s professional or semiprofessional, somewhere close to home, I wouldn’t be opposed to it. But, my academics come first. That’s where my focus is for the next four years and even after right now.”
EDP would like to wish Kyle the best of luck at Saint Joseph’s University in his first season as a freshman and the rest of his current year with the SJEB Rush.
Founded in 1999, Elite Development Program Soccer (EDP) is one of the largest organizers of youth soccer leagues and tournaments in the U.S. EDP operates youth leagues for boys and girls ages 9-19, conducts a Futures program for players ages 7-11, and operates U20/23 men’s and women’s leagues. EDP also runs over 20 tournaments each year. The key emphasis for EDP’s leagues and tournaments is its Pathway to College™ programming which enables soccer players to reach their full potential with an emphasis on attending college. More than 3,500 teams participate in EDP’s leagues and more than 170,000 players compete in EDP tournaments annually. For more information on EDP, visit www.edpsoccer.com.