New Jersey has always been a breeding ground for top soccer players, especially at the goalkeeper position. From generation to generation, the state continues to produce top players at the position. The 1990 and 1994 World Cup starting goalkeeper Tony Meola from Kearny, NJ who also starred for the NY/NJ Metrostars. The next generation saw Tim Howard from North Brunswick, NJ also star for the NY/NJ Metrostars and was also the 2010 and 2014 World Cup starting goalkeeper for the US National Team. To the current crop of Jersey keepers in MLS organizations with Bryan Meredith (Vancouver Whitecaps/PDA), Eric Klenofsky (Toronto FC/TSF Academy), Tyler Miller (Minnesota United FC/Pittsgrove SC), Bobby Edwards (FC Cincinnati/Parsippany SC), and Matt Turner (New England Revolution/Clarkstown SC) among others.
One of the top prospects of the next generation is Alex Borto of South Plainfield, NJ. In late July, at just 16 years old, Borto signed a contract with English side Fulham FC, who was recently promoted to the English Premier League. Bortlo will look to follow in the footsteps of American keepers Kasey Keller and Marcus Hahnemann who both were members of Fulham in the early 2000s. Bortlo will train with the U18 team when he arrives in England, with hopes of working his way into the u23 side, and hopefully into the first team.
Prior to signing for Fulham, Borto was a member of Cedar Stars Monmouth Academy Team and played high school soccer for Gill St. Bernards, where he played for one of the top coaches in EDP Bart Jan Overmat and won the 2019 State Championship. In his earlier years, Borto was a member of PDA Xavi who played in EDP’s top divisions. The PDA Xavi was a top team in EDP and featured several standouts.
“EDP was the very first league I ever played in with PDA Xavi. It was a great experience for me and I had lots of fun. My coaches would play me in the field a lot at that time and I really enjoyed that! I even scored some goals when I played field. For little kids to stand in a goal isn’t always so much fun, so I appreciate that they played me in different spots, and at the same time helped me develop my foot skills. For a long time, I equally enjoyed both striker as well as a goalie, but I knew I had to make a decision. I love flying in the goal and that is my true passion. Although I moved to the DA after playing in EDP, and I’m still grateful to have played there and started my career in the league because it provided me with great foundation for football.”
— Alex Borto
“I have had the pleasure to work with Alex since he was a U9, and he trained with DTS in our Futsal programs. We stayed in touch all the time and it was great to see him grow as a player. When he came to Gill St Bernards, I knew the kid would have the potential to go pro and two years later he was able to sign his first contract! I think he has a great future and I wish him well!”
— Bart Jan Overmaat