NORTH ADAMS -- For MCLA men’s soccer midfielder Tedd Cecchetelli, two goals through the Trailblazers’ first four games indicate that he has completely recovered from knee injuries.
A promising start in 2011 led to Cecchetelli, of West Springfield, sitting out last season after having both of his knees surgically repaired. That did not go down all that well.
"It was extremely difficult, extremely," he said. "The mental factor that I couldn’t help them out. I couldn’t be there for them when they lost. I couldn’t be there for them when they won. It’s all a team thing, so it was tough for me to not be there."
Cecchetelli hurt one of his knees as a sophomore in high school and the other during his sophomore year at MCLA.
"He’s sort of our emotional leader," MCLA coach Adam Hildabrand said. "There was the getting over the knee injury and then the mental makeup of getting over everything. It is a big deal.
"We’re young, and he provides leadership that we desperately need."
How tough were things for Cecchetelli? He admittedly came to MCLA to play soccer, but when it was taken away with the knee injury, he got to refocus his energies.
"I met a lot of good people and a lot of good teachers and everything changed," he said. "Soccer now is a good time. It’s a great way to get away from the school books and get away from everything you have."
As a young player, Cecchetelli got into 12 games and started seven in the 2011 season.
After a long year of rest, surgery and rehabilitation, Cecchetelli is back in gear. He said that he felt good from the first day of double sessions. Sometimes, anticipation can cause insomnia. The night before Cecchetelli’s return to the pitch, he went right to bed.
"I slept like a baby. I was ready to go," he said. "I was excited. I was ready to go."
Cecchetelli got right into the thick of things on Aug. 30 when MCLA beat Johnson State 3-0. While the senior midfielder was scoreless, he had three shots in the game and two shots on goal. One day later, Cecchetelli got his two goals in a 10-1 rout of Green Mountain.
He scored the first goal of the game and the first goal of the second half. The midfielder had seven shots and was 2 for 3 in registered shots on goal.
"The first game was unreal. I [had] butterflies, butterflies all the way through," he said. "I had a good time and I felt great the entire game."
Cecchetelli’s coach said he knows what the senior means to the Trailblazers, and Hildabrand said that his player is over any residual second thoughts about playing.
"My fear with him is he goes out there, stops thinking about it and then he gets hurt," said Hildabrand. "I think he’s over the mental hump.
"It took him a whole year to do it, but he got over it."
To reach Howard Herman:
or (413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.