PITMAN– Connor Hurff was done with his
The St. Augustine Prep graduate from Mullica Hill, had seen enough, been through
enough that the urge to continue as a professional soccer player had been erased
from his goals.
“It was time to move on,” Hurff said. “I decided that I wanted to coach. I
started my own training company and I was coaching at Rutgers-Camden. I didn’t
think playing was in my future.”
That’s when Philadelphia Fury president and CEO Matt Driver entered the picture.
“I saw him at a tournament and told him he was crazy not to still be playing,”
Driver said. “I kind of shamed him and (Rutgers-Camden head coach Tim Oswald)
into trying out. He’s such a talented player in every aspect of the game and
he’s too young not to be on the field.”
Hurff is now a big part of the Fury, which opened their ASL Challenge season
with Penn FC on Friday at Rowan University, as a part of the Fury’s midfield.
Hurff will wear the No.10 this season as the Fury look to build a franchise that
has its sights set on joining a higher-level league such as the NASL in the next
season or two.
“The fact is I grew up in the area and in my mind, this was a glorified men’s
league,” Hurff said. “So, when I came out and worked out with this team, before
I got here I’m not sure I understood the opportunity.
“Once I started working out I quickly realized how wrong I was. The training and
the approach is impressive. I’ll say this, (Driver and head coach Cris Vaccaro)
run one of the most detailed practices I’ve ever seen. This is a professional
team by every way you can look at it.”
For someone who has been around soccer his entire life, that’s an impressive
At the Prep, Hurff earned NSCAA Regional All-American honors en route to a
Non-Public A state title as a senior. In that year he was named First Team
All-State, and Offensive Player of the Year recognition from the South Jersey
Coaches Association. He was also the Player of the Year both the Courier-Post,
Philadelphia Inquirer, Press of Atlantic City and The Daily Journal.
Hurff went on to play for Rutgers New Brunswick for two seasons but the first
year he endured redshirt status due to a knee injury and after his sophomore
year he transferred to Rutgers-Camden. With the Scarlet Raptors he was a part of
a team that finished second in the country at the Division III level.
That’s when his next wave of injuries hit in a dramatic way.
“I had a few injuries,” Hurff said. “I went to the Philadelphia Union combine
(2015) and I was on of four out of 70 they selected. The last play of the
combine I beat a guy on the dribble and he took be out and basically snapped my
ankle to the ground. I had serious bone bruising.
“I tried to rest it until camp, but I wasn’t fully recovered and couldn’t move
the way I need to move as a player. I tried out for the Bethlehem Steel and they
couldn’t sign me until I was healthy. That’s when I figured it was time to focus
Hurff has established a training company in Sewell, Diamond Soccer and is still
an assistant with Rutgers-Camden.
“It’s really a great situation for me,” Hurff said. “I get to see three
different training styles. I’m able to use all those styles and in the end, it
not only helps me as a coach but also the youth programs I work with.” On top of
that, he still gets to play and for a 24-year old, nothing is better than that.