Despite two injuries, the Philadelphia Academy Charter grad won’t give up his dream to play professionally.
Coming back from a torn ACL was the second-hardest thing Chase Nasife ever did.
The hardest? Doing it a second time.
Nasife is a junior on the Immaculata University soccer team, and he was given a chance to play there despite suffering a bad knee injury during his senior soccer season at Philadelphia Academy Charter.
“I was playing a game in October of my senior year and the ball was at my feet,” the Far Northeast resident recalled. “I went to make a run and I just went down. I wouldn’t wish that pain on my worst enemy. It’s nothing I would ever recommend anyone doing.”
The battle back was rough.
The injury spoiled most of his senior soccer season and also wiped out his baseball season.
Missing his senior seasons wasn’t the only hard part about the injury.
“Getting back was the hardest thing I ever did,” he said. “I was cleared by my freshman season, but I really didn’t get back to 100 percent, physically and mentally, until last year. It was very hard.”
Then things got harder.
Last year, he saw some playing time and was optimistic coming out of the season. On Thanksgiving, he was messing around with his brother-in-law and playing football.
“I got hurt on one play, so I sat a play out and then went back in, and I could tell right away, I did it again, same knee, same pain,” Nasife said. “It was on Thanksgiving, so it took some time to get a doctor to look at it.
“I was hoping it was just an MCL sprain, but I could tell the way it was swelling up, it was bad.”
It was. For the second time in three years, Nasife suffered a torn ACL.
“I was really upset because I knew it was going back to the beginning,” Nasife said. “I had my surgery on Dec. 31. While everyone else was out having fun, I celebrated New Year’s by sitting in my room on painkillers and getting texts from people who were out having fun.”
Things didn’t get much easier once the calendar turned to 2017, but Nasife has kept up his resolution to get back on the field.
Just like the first time, Nasife took some time to get the knee healed, but once he got the OK from his doctors, he put all his efforts into getting back in shape for soccer.
“Doctors told me that it’s going to take longer this time; it usually takes about three months longer when you do it a second time,” Nasife said. “I’ve been working really hard because I know I want to be cleared by September when they test me. If I’m not ready, I could redshirt, but I want to play.
“The goal is to get back to full strength and play with a brace. I’m not sure if I’ll be ready, but that’s what I’m working hard for. If doctors say I’m not ready, then I’ll have to see what I can do, but until then, I’m going in with a goal to play this year.”
Nasife has been aggressive with his workout regimen.
He works the front counter at Planet Fitness in Bensalem. He recently gave up his job as a supervisor at Sesame Place because he was spending a lot of time on his surgically repaired knee.
When he’s not working, he’s working out.
“I usually work out before work and after because I’m trying to stay in shape,” Nasife said. “Getting in soccer shape is tough because if you’re not playing it, you’re not going to be in shape, but I’ve been doing a lot of cardio. I can’t run full go and play soccer yet, but I’m starting to do some more work.”
Nasife hopes his junior year puts him on the path to his ultimate goal, which is playing professional soccer.
Nasife knows there is a lot of work to be done.
Making the professional ranks is tough to do, but it’s something he wants to at least try to do before he hangs up the cleats.
“I want to play soccer for as long as I can, and if I can make a career out of it, that would be perfect,” said Nasife, who is majoring in sports management.
“I don’t care about money. I don’t care if it’s a small club overseas. As long as I can play soccer, I’d be happy. I know it’s tough and I have a lot of work to do if I want to get there, but that would be my dream job after college. I at least want to try it.”
After his playing days are over, Nasife would still like to stay in sports.
He plans on looking into becoming an agent, and he’d also like to help coach the next generation of soccer players.
“My dad coaches softball, and sometimes I’ll help him,” Nasife said. “It’s great to help people, and coaches can have a huge impact on a player.
“I’ve had great coaches. I wouldn’t be where I am now without (Philadelphia Academy coach Larry) Teal pushing me to get better, and (Immaculata coach Joe) Clementi has helped me a lot. They know tearing an ACL can be hard to come back from, and they’ve helped me a lot.” ••