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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

Senior Forrest Lasso takes first step toward his professional soccer dreams

Lasso+scores+against+Costal+Carolina.
Lasso scores against Costal Carolina.

FORMER WOFFORD PLAYER IS CATCHING ON WITH THE CHARLESTON BATTERY OF THE USL PRO—

While most of his classmates are looking for jobs and preparing to graduate, senior soccer player Forrest Lasso is getting a head start on his chosen career. Lasso has been playing for the Charleston Battery, a professional soccer team in the United Soccer League Pro.
Mike Anhauser, a coach for the Battery, had been scouting Lasso during his entire Wofford career. Lasso went to Charleston in early February for a tryout with the team.

“I went down for the weekend tryout, and then that Monday I signed a contract,” Lasso says.

From there things started to move fast, with Lasso debuting for the Battery later that month. Since then Lasso has had some huge opportunities with the team, including several games against teams from the American First Division, Major League Soccer.

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In those games Lasso has been on the same field as some world-class players for MLS teams.

“Not to be cliché, but it’s been a dream come true to play against those guys,” Lasso says. “Playing against players that I used in video games growing up is crazy.”

Those guys that Lasso is talking about are some of the stars of the MLS and international soccer. His first game was against the Houston Dynamo, the MLS team that has a partnership with Lasso’s Battery. The Dynamo boasts two United States Men’s National Team players on their roster, Brad Davis and Damarcus Beasley, who holds the record for most World Cup appearances by an American player. Lasso also played against New York City Football Club, a team that featured Mix Diskerud, a promising young player for the USMNT, and David Villa, the leading scorer in the history of the Spanish National Team and winner of the 2010 World Cup. Lasso was scheduled to play against Orlando City Soccer Club and their star, Brazilian World Cup-winner, Kaka, but  the second half of the game was cancelled because of weather.

Wofford Coach Ralph Polson is incredibly excited about the opportunities that Lasso is getting with the Battery. Polson was happy to hear Lasso had chosen the team.

“They are a great organization with ties to the MLS Houston Dynamo. As he progresses, who knows what doors could open. The Battery has a history of players moving up to the MLS,” says Polson, who said that Lasso received interest from the Charlotte Independence a USL team, closer to his hometown of Raleigh, N.C., but chose the Battery because of their more developed franchise and established connection to the Dynamo. Polson says that the Battery’s interest in Lasso was only natural given his ability.

“He fit very well into their needs. His size, his ability to win balls in the air, the fact that he is left footed and very comfortable with the ball at his feet – those things will serve him well going forward.”

Polson is excited about seeing one of his players making it to the next level.

Lasso isn’t the first; Thomas Hunter, a goalkeeper from Wofford’s 2009 team, played for the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL. But Polson is excited to see Lasso’s success.

“It is nice to see a Wofford Terrier wearing a pro uniform,” Polson says. “It is an indication of where the program is going.”

Lasso is also facing a new challenge in the beginning of his pro career in that he is continuing to take classes at Wofford while playing for the Battery. Lasso is currently taking seven hours and commutes to Wofford on Monday nights to attend class on Tuesday and Wednesday morning before returning to Charleston on Wednesday afternoon. Lasso says that his experience at Wofford as a student-athlete and an active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon helped prepare him for that challenge.

“It is definitely a lot to balance but balancing my time was a big part of college,” says Lasso.

Polson says that the fact that the Battery is allowing Lasso to finish his degree shows their commitment to him.

“That says a lot about what they see in him. Allowing him to miss a day of training is huge.” Polson also says Lasso’s effort shows his maturity.

“He has really grown up,” says Polson. “It says a lot about his maturity and self-discipline that he is succeeding and continuing to pursue his degree. It shows a level of professionalism that will help him for years.”

Lasso certainly has a promising career ahead of him, but his coach is excited that he plans to finish his degree by the end of next fall.

“You know you can’t be a professional player forever, and it’s important that he gets that Wofford degree that everyone comes here for,” says Polson.

The Battery starts their season on March 21 against the Toronto FC USL side. Lasso will be ready.

“I am just ready to develop my game more as an individual. I have a lot to learn, and I’m ready to iron out the wrinkles.”

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