by Marty Simpkins
RALEIGH — Former Wakefield High School goalkeeper Alec Dufty is now training goalkeepers at the professional level.
Alec accepted a job at Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC (Football Club) to be their Goalkeeping Director for the Toronto FC Academy. While there, he will be training young professional soccer players the art of goalkeeping. He will also serve as an assistant coach for Toronto FC II, the club’s United Soccer League Professional reserves team.
Before joining the big leagues, Alec was the goalkeeper coach at Florida Gulf Coast University for two seasons. While there, Alec coached Nathan Ingham and Danny George, turning them into All-Atlantic Sun goalies.
Under Alec’s coaching, Ingham tied his own program single-season record with nine shutouts and George made the conference’s All-Freshman team with six shutouts in 12 starts. Florida Gulf Coast also had back-to-back regular season conference titles while Alec on the coaching staff.
“I don’t think I did anything out of the ordinary at FGCU,” Alec said. “We struggled a bit my first year there and I tried to look at myself first to figure out why that happened. I tweaked a few things about how I was training the keepers and eventually they got in the groove that carried us through last season. A lot of goalkeeping is confidence, so I found something that worked there and stuck with it.”
Alec’s soccer career started when he played goalie at Wakefield. After he graduated, he played at Appalachian State and the University of Evansville.
Alec played professionally in the MLS with the New York Red Bulls, Columbus Crew and ended his playing career at the Chicago Fire.
Alec lived with his parents up in Chicago and also started doing some volunteer coaching at the University of Illinios-Chicago.
“I was working at a physical therapy clinic and coaching at the same time and realized that coaching was what I wanted,” Alec said. “I loved being out on the field with the players and teaching in that environment over the other.”
It has been a long journey for Alec in the sport of soccer, but the 28-year-old is back in the MLS as a coach. He will help get the players ready for the summer.
The Wakefield product said that being a coach was tough for him in the beginning, but seeing the results at the end makes it worth it.
“Transitioning from a player to a coach was a little difficult at first,” Alec said. “I would get frustrated at times with simple mistakes and still felt like I wanted to jump into games to help fix them. But eventually I started to get more comfortable in my role and learned that the most important thing I could do as a coach was to just keep teaching no matter how long it took. The kids would eventually get the concepts. It is very gratifying when they do.