Conor Chinn was born and raised in Carlsbad. He attended St. Patrick’s then went onto University of San Diego High School (Cathedral Catholic). Conor played with Carlsbad Lightning for 10 years, where his love and passion grew for the game and helped developed him into a college soccer player. He then played 4 seasons at University of San Francisco. From there, MLS giants New York Red Bulls drafted Conor where his most notable memory is scoring a great goal against Juventus and playing along side Thierry Henry.
Q. Where did you play in college and describe the recruitment process?
Conor: I was recruited by several colleges both locally and out of state. For me, I looked at colleges who had my major, a successful soccer program, and the location of the school. I choose to play for Seattle University, which at that time was NCAA Division II. During my official visit, I really enjoyed the team, the athletics program and the coach. These factors helped influence my decision to attend Seattle University.
Q. Can you describe your college experience? And how did you balance everything as a student athlete?
Conor: My college experience was a little unique compared to most student athletes in which I transferred after my freshman year. I truly enjoyed my experience at Seattle University but I felt it was not the right fit for me, so I decided to transfer to University of San Francisco. When I visited USF, I really liked the small classes, personal professors, business program and the culture of city life.
Being a student athlete is very demanding in regards to balancing schoolwork, soccer, work, and social life. I used many of the resources that USF offered, such as meeting with professors outside of class time to make sure that I was performing in the classroom. I have benefited so much from being a student athlete it and has taught me many life lessons that I use in my career.
Q. How was your soccer experience at USF and did you play anywhere after college?
Conor: I really enjoyed my college soccer experience. I loved the intensity of practices and games, my teammates and the atmosphere of the athletic program. We played in the WCC conference that was very tough and competitive. In my junior year, we had a successful year and I was very fortunate to receive WCC player of the year with 17 goals in 21 appearances. From that year, I began to receive more attention from MLS scouts and interest from teams. After my senior year, I was invited to the MLS combine with many other top recruits in the country. I was drafted by New York Red Bulls and was very honored to play with some great players.
Q. What was your favorite memory of Carlsbad Lightning?
Conor: Carlsbad Lightning started the love and passion for soccer in my life. It is a great community club and they helped me grow and develop as a player as well as a young man. My family was very involved with the club and I have enjoyed all the friends and families we’ve met through the years!
Q. What advice do you have for young players aspiring to play in college?
Conor: My advice for young players is to first enjoy the game of soccer. Push yourself everyday, whether it’s in training, the gym, or in games. Have the right mindset to always want to improve and compete. Lastly, work hard academically. You need to realize that you are a student first and an athlete second. In having good grades, you will have far more opportunities in the college recruitment process.