Empire United Soccer Academy

Empire United's Alex Bono Making His Mark in MLS

Development Academy graduate has started six straight games for Toronto FC

Empire United Development Academy graduate Alex Bono has started the past six matches for Toronto FC of Major League Soccer.  After attending national power Syracuse University, Bono signed a Generation Adidas contract with MLS in January 2015.  Bono featured reguarly as the first choice keeper for Toronto FC II in the USL last year, before seizing his opportunity as the first team choice for the past six matches.  Bono has compiled a 2-2-2 record in that time, and led TFC to the Canadian Cup title in late June.
Bono was a four year member of the Empire United Development Academy, and was a Hermann Award Finalist as the nation's top college player during his junior year at SU.
From TorontoFC.ca

We Are TFC: Alex Bono

July 28, 201610:03AM EDT
This is the latest installment of We Are TFC. Every week, we’ll sit down with one of the Reds and help you get to know them a little bit better, on and off the field. This week, Devang Desai chats with Alex Bono. The second year goalkeeper has filled in admirably for the injured Clint Irwin. We hope you’ll enjoy this series and let us know which TFC players you’d like to see profiled in the future.
Taking a look at your phone – what picture means the most to you and why?
BONO: Ball to the face against David Silva last year in the Manchester City friendly. It was my first game minutes with the first team. It’s a painful picture every time I look at it but yeah, I think that’s my favourite one
Not many people can say they got smoked in the head by David Silva..
BONO: (Laughs) Yeah, that’s the cool thing about it, it’s something that not many people get to experience and I was lucky to have a photo for the memory.
Favourite soccer player and why?
BONO: Steven Gerrard. I’m a Liverpool fan and he's a Liverpool legend.
I asked Clint Irwin about this because he's a big Gerrard fan as well, but how cool is it playing in the same league as him now?
BONO: He wasn’t there for the LA Galaxy game when we played here but just seeing him in preseason, it makes you think about the experiences he's been through, the stories he has to tell and the games he's played in. 
Who is the funniest player on the team?
BONO: Danny Lovitz for sure. The banter he brings to the locker room, the sarcasm level and the deadpan humour. He’s just a great guy.
How would people close to you describe you in one word?
BONO: Hardworking, well spoken and respectful. Those three.
Let’s go with hardworking – why?
BONO: Nothing can be accomplished without hard work. A lot of people just work as hard as they can to get to the top and that’s kind of my way of doing it – I know that nothing is given to me and it’s my job to work hard for it, whether it be on the field or in the gym putting in work on days off. That sort of thing.
What’s your favourite pastime?
BONO: I have a dog and I love hanging out with him. He's a Yorkie-Pomeranian named Drax.
How are you killing time in the offseason?
BONO: Training. Hanging out with family, visiting friends – having a good time.
Any vacation plans this year?
BONO: I’m trying to get one planned with my boys from high school but it’s tough when they’re still in school and have no money (laughs). 
If you weren’t a soccer player, what would you be doing?
BONO: Broadcasting, definitely. My major was broadcasting when I was at Syracuse and it’s traditionally one of the better broadcasting schools in the country so a lot of people come out of there with good jobs and good connections so that was the path if soccer didn’t work out.
What’s been your favourite moment with TFC so far?
BONO: This is easy. Canadian Cup. My first start and the first trophy we won while I was here and also it had such big implications for Champions League next season. It was a big boost in confidence for everybody moving forward.
Do you remember what you were thinking after you made that save on Matias Laba right before halftime?
BONO: We’re only halfway there – there’s still 45 minutes in the game and anything can happen and anything and everything did happen (laughs).
You said Clint spoke with you before the game. What did he say to you to help you get settled?
BONO: Yeah, he just said I should be excited – He didn't know of a goalkeeper that had their first start be for a big trophy so he said don’t take it for granted, 'You’re a good goalkeeper, I see it every day, just put in your best foot forward and give it the best you have and we’ll be alright.'
Where’s the medal?
BONO: It’s hanging above my TV in my bedroom. 
Any quirks or superstitions before a game?
BONO: My superstition is not to be superstitious. I believe if you do one thing differently and it’s part of your superstition, it will mentally mess you up so my superstition is to not have any.
How about teammates – maybe in your school days or even with TFC, what’s the strangest thing you’ve seen someone do before the game?
BONO: It was funny, last game we were in the locker room and Jay Chapman hit Tsubasa Endoh with a ball. Jay said that Tsubasa doesn’t touch a ball before the game before he goes on the field. Tsubasa got so angry with Jay, but it was funny.
Favourite movie?
BONO: Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
Favourite music artist?
BONO: Frank Sinatra.
Who are your heroes?
BONO: Both of my parents but my Dad especially. He was really hard on me growing up, very strict and wanting me to go on the right path and at the time, you know, I was like “aw man, my parents are so strict” and college comes and it’s a guy I’ve never seen before. He’s completely loosened up, you know, that sort of thing, but I know it was for the best and I know he’s only looking out for the best for me so he’s my hero.
When I say Toronto, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
BONO: Home. Second home. It’s an amazing city. I don’t want to sound like a typical American but you go to Canada you have to change all your stuff over, which can be a pain but I couldn’t be happier. I wouldn’t rather play for any other team in the league and I wouldn’t rather live in any other city than this one.
What’s your ultimate goal in life?
BONO: To do the best I can in everything I do. You know, whether it be soccer or if that doesn’t work out, go into broadcasting or having a family, or raising kids – anything like that, just doing the best I can in every aspect that I’m involved in.