Featured / Philadelphians Abroad

Philadelphians abroad: Former-RBNY keeper Vuolo leaves soccer for ministry

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Downingtown, Pa. native and recent New York Red Bull goalkeeper Jeremy Vuolo is leaving soccer to pursue ministry.

Vuolo, son of Grace Church of Downingtown pastor Charles Vuolo, was a standout at Downingtown West High School. Before his professional career, he also appeared at the club level for FC Delco, Spirit United Club and the Reading Rage of the PDL (now Reading United).

Vuolo began his college career at Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY where he started 53 of a possible 55 matches between the sticks. Vuolo’s breakout season came his junior year when he compiled a 10-4-4 record and a 0.84 goals against average with seven shutouts, earning him the 2009 All-Mid American Goalkeeper of the Year award as well as First Team All-MAC honors, as well as being named the team’s Most Valuable Player.

Despite his success on the field, Vuolo’s time at Hartwick became an inflection point in his personal and religious life. In a personal blog post outlining his decision to leave the game, Vuolo said, “Mid-way through my sophomore year at Hartwick College I came to a low point in my life—I had allowed certain sins to grow in my heart unabated, leading me down a precarious path. I recognized and hated these sins yet was left perplexed and discouraged when I perpetually succumbed to them.” Foreshadowing today’s decision, it was at this time that Vuolo chose, among other things, to start a Christian outreach group on campus and further devote himself to his religious beliefs.

Before his senior year, Vuolo made the switch to Syracuse University. That year he started 15 games and was named a finalist for the LOWES Senior Class Award for the nation’s most outstanding student-athlete. He was named the team’s Most Valuable Player after ranking fourth in the Big East Conference in saves and saves per game, averaging 4.94 saves and a GAA of 1.07.

After college, Vuolo signed with Finnish First Division side AC Oulu, recording 24 starts and 11 shutouts while helping the team to a third-place league finish and an additional 6 starts in domestic cup play.

Vuolo signed with the New York Red Bulls in January 2012, quickly finding himself playing backup to rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara. As the season went on, though, Vuolo slipped further and further down the depth chart when the team added Hummelstown, PA native Bill Gaudette to its roster in July and one-time US international Luis Robles in August.

Vuolo said of his time in New York, it “proved to be one of the most difficult, while simultaneously being one of the most fulfilling, that I had ever had. Soccer did not progress how I had foreseen but it was clear that God was molding and nurturing me. I could go into great detail on the particulars but, for the sake of brevity, will simply say that God humbled me beyond what I thought possible.”

On November 19, 2012, New York declined his option for the upcoming year. In the offseason Vuolo explored some professional opportunities abroad, making a trial appearance with Finnish club HJK Helsinki on January 10, 2013. Vuolo also revealed in his blog post that he was given a chance to join a team in North Carolina for preseason training (presumable one of the four participating in the Carolina Challenge Cup preseason tournament).

It was at this point that Vuolo seems to have made the decision to leave the sport. “I could not see myself spending another year devoted to the game that I no longer had an unbridled passion for, all the while putting on the backburner what I perceived to be my true calling.”

CONCACAF Champions League

Greg Cochrane, D, Los Angeles Galaxy  In the 18, but did not play. Season: 0 games.

Major League Soccer

Chris Albright, D, Philadelphia Union — In the 18, but did not play. Season: 0 games.

Greg Cochrane, D, Los Angeles Galaxy  Bye week. Season: 0 games.

Bobby Convey, M, Sporting Kansas City — Started and played 45 minutes in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Toronto. Season: 2 game, 2 start.

Ryan Finley, F, Columbus Crew — Played 1 minute in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Vancouver. Season: 2 games.

Dan Gargan, D, San Jose Earthquakes — In the 18, but did not play. Season: 0 games.

Cristhian Hernandez, M, Philadelphia Union — Did not play. Season: 0 games.

Corey Hertzog, F, Vancouver Whitecaps — In the 18, but did not play. Season: 0 games.

Antoine Hoppenot, F, Philadelphia Union — Played 19 minutes in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Colorado, providing the game-winning assist in the 79th minute. Season: 1 game, 1 assist.

Jeff Larentowicz, M, Chicago Fire — Started and played 90 minutes in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to New England. Season: 2 games, 2 starts.

Jimmy McLaughlin, M, Philadelphia Union — Did not play. Season: 0 games.

Jeff Parke, D, Philadelphia Union — Started and played 90 minutes in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Colorado. Season: 2 games, 2 starts.

Marcus Tracy, F, San Jose Earthquakes — Did not play. Season: 0 games.

Zarek Valentin, D, Montreal Impact — Did not play. Season: 0 games.

Bobby Warshaw, D, FC Dallas — Started and played 45 minutes in Sunday’s 3-1 loss to Chivas U.S.A. Season: 2 games, 1 start.

Andrew Wenger, F, Montreal Impact — Played 15 minutes in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Portland . Season: 1 game.

Austrian Bundesliga

Eddie Gustafsson, GK, Red Bull Salzburg — Did not play. Season (League): 0 games. Season (Cup): 2 games, 2 starts, 2 goals against.

Danish 1st Division

R.J. Allen, Skive IK — League play resumes March 23, 2013.

Finnish Veikkausliiga

Jon Okafor, M, MYPA — League play begins April 14, 2013.

German Bundesliga Süd/Südwest (U19)

Russell Canouse, M, Hoffenheim — No game this week. Season: 16 games, 10 starts.

Zach Pfeffer, M, Hoffenheim —No game this week. Season: 4 games, 4 starts, 1 goal.

Israeli Liga Leumit

Noah Sadaoui, F, Hapoel Kfar Saba F.C. — On loan from Maccabi Haifa (Isreali Premier League), in the 18, but did not play. Season: 3 games, 1 start.

Swedish Superettan

Billy Schuler, M, Hammarby IF — League play begins April 7, 2013.


  1. Josh Trott says:

    Is Zach Pfeffer starting in the Bundesliga? He has a goal? Of is this a B team?

  2. Gary Bonebrake says:

    Way to go Jeremy! God bless your future ministry!

  3. Great blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your design. Cheers

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