Summarized by Rosemary Pollock
LDS Indoor Soccer Star Named Rookie of Year (Freezz rookie heats up, wins WISL accolade)
Deseret News 2Dec99 S2
By James Edward: Deseret News sports writer
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Utah Freezz forward Justin Labrum was named
World Indoor Soccer League Rookie of the Year on Wednesday. After a
stellar prep career at Brighton High that ended in 1993, Labrum tried
out for a Las Vegas professional team but turned down an ensuing
contract offer to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of
Upon returning home from two years in Venezuela, Labrum was enrolled
at Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne to play college soccer. "It was a little
different than I expected," Labrum said. "It was the first time I'd
played outside of Utah and it opened my eyes to national soccer, and
showed that Utah can play at the national level."
Labrum returned home after his freshman year, sighting homesickness.
He soothed his soccer passion with pick-up games and played club soccer,
indoors or out. Twenty goals and nine assists later, Labrum has found a
nice home with the Utah Freezz in the WISL. "It means a lot because it
gives me confidence in myself and tells me I can play with anybody,"
On Friday Utah will travel to Sacramento for a WISL semifinal. The
Knights have won l2 straight games and have not lost at home this year.
Labrum was the only player in the rookie-of-the-year balloting, who
received two first-place votes. Shane Jones and Brian Alba, two Freezz
teammates, also received votes.
"The odds were in our favor to get a rookie of the year because of the
number of rookies we had," said Freezz coach Dave Poggi. "But that
doesn't take anything away from Justin, because he's very worthy."