Second in command

It’s not exactly where you thought your career would end up. After these years playing travel soccer and starring for your high school, you finally got the chance to play for a Division I program.

It’s a dream come true. But, the dream probably didn’t have you riding the pine. It’s a tough transition, especially for someone who was a starter everywhere he went. College is a cruel world sometimes. Coaches will recruit a number of players for the same position. They have to make sure they cover themselves as well.

They go to the high school where you were and tell you about the program, how you would be a great fit, how you could become the starter. It’s the line they have told players all the time. It’s their job after all, they need to sell the program.

You compete with the best of them. You know you can be a Division I starter. They bring in this guy from Italy who has the credentials, but yet you won’t give up the crease. That’s your crease, and you won’t let some guy from another country just come in and take it from you.

Canisius College senior keeper Bryce Tramuta is living the dream as a Division I athlete. The only problem is he’s backing up someone else. It could have been enough to send him away and transfer to another school.

After all, everyone wants to be a starter.

“My experience and career at Canisius is more than I could have ever asked for. I have met so many great people and made friendships that are going to last a lifetime,” stated Tramuta. “I have gotten to travel and play soccer, and be apart of a team that I consider family. I couldn't have asked for a better experience.”

Ask any starting keeper and they will tell you how hard the game is. They have to make sure they are in the right mindset from the very beginning - and laser focused.

The same could be said with being a backup. Being a backup is probably even tougher than being a starter. A backup player never knows if or when they will get in a game. They have to be ready at a drop off a hat.

They may not have the same the routine as a starter does, because they don’t even know if they will be playing. It’s not an easy position to be in. If the starting keeper goes down five minutes into the game, you need to be ready to help your team win.

“Being a backup in my opinion is harder than being a starter. You always have to prepare like you are going to play, and then most of the time you are left on the bench. The hardest part is the mental aspect. You have to stay positive and make sure you are prepared for when you have to play to try and keep the same level of play as the starter. It's a killer being on the bench, but when you finally get to play there is no better feeling,” explained Tramuta. “My pregame preparations are the same as a backup and when I know I am going to play. I make sure I get to bed early the night before, and make sure I eat right and drink enough water just in case I do have to play. Three of my appearances took place in the middle of a game, so I make sure I stay loose on the sidelines incase I have to go in. Those are the hardest to play. You don't get a full pregame warmup and have to go and jump in the game cold. That's where the mental part of the game comes in and you have to be strong.”

You also hear all the time, especially in football, how the backup quarterback doesn’t get along with the starter. It’s not an easy position to be in as a player. Both players want to be the man. They both want to be the one who leads there team to victory.

Tramuta doesn’t see it that way. He is very good friends with starting keeper Marco Trivellato, which is rare these days. Sure Tramuta wants to get in there and prove to everyone he can be the man, but he also supports his good friend as the team fights for the same goals every year.

“I consider Marco my best friend on the team. We are very close and soccer has never gotten in the way of that. Any time we are having any problems, wether it be in soccer, school or just life in general, we are always there to talk and support each other,” stated Tramuta. “Whoever is playing we want only the best for, and push each other every day in training. Marco has helped me develop a lot over the years - helping me work on things that need improvement. Very thankful to have had him push me over the past three years.”

With Trivellato out for two games this year, the understudy became the teacher. Tramuta proved in his two game stint that they Griffs are in good hands if Trivellato had to miss any more time this year.

Tramuta earned two victories, including a shutout as Canisius was rolling in the early part of the season. The chance to be able to play back-to-back games was something that Tramuta will relish as his time as a Griff comes to an end.

“It was very nice to get some game time early, and get two wins. The Robert Morris game will probably be the most memorable game in my career. Being down 3-0 and coming back and having Troy Brady score the winner in overtime is something I'll always remember. He has worked very hard to come back from an ACL injury and it was very nice to see all that hard work pay off,” stated Tramuta. “There is no better feeling than getting a clean sheet. It's like scoring a goal for goalkeepers. I didn't have much to do that game but, when it finally ended, it felt amazing to have my first clean sheet in college.”

As his college career comes to an end, Tramuta is starting to look to the future. Canisius is known for their business degrees and Tramuta hopes to use that to start his second career. A few years ago, he was able to travel to Europe and study abroad.

When he finally gets that diploma, Europe isn’t out of the realm of possibility again.

“I'm studying finance and German, and have begun my MBA in International Business,” he said. “I studied abroad in Germany a few years ago and fell in love with Europe, so I'm hoping my education can take me back over there to work and live.”