Former Men's Soccer Forward Vince Erdei (’18) Finds Success in Life After Stony Brook
NEW YORK – For Vince Erdei and the Stony Brook men's soccer coaching staff, the FIFA World Cup brings back fond memories. Erdei, a native of Budapest, Hungary, came on an official two-day visit to Stony Brook on July 12, 2014 – the same day Germany defeated Argentina in the 2014 World Cup Final. After being recruited by the Seawolves' men's soccer staff, he decided to attend Stony Brook's Elite ID Camp in an attempt to earn a position on the team. "We had seen video of Vince, and I was familiar with his team and the level at which he played in Hungary," Stony Brook Head Coach Ryan Anatol said. "Vince took the opportunity to come over, and he really impressed us at camp. Not only was he the best player that weekend, but he also had a great attitude and work ethic." After the camp, Anatol and Associate Head Coach Dannie Merida met Erdei at a local restaurant to try and convince him to join the Seawolves' program. "We knew we didn't have a lot of time, as Vince was heading back to Hungary the next morning," Anatol said. "When we arrived at the restaurant, the first half of the World Cup final had just started. We were all a bit distracted – after all, the World Cup only happens once every four years." Erdei told Anatol and Merida that he was immediately impressed with Stony Brook's athletic facilities, its academic resources, and its proximity to New York City – where his brother lived. He also felt an immediate connection with both coaches. "I don't even look at them as coaches, I look at them both as mentors now," Erdei said. "They know a lot about the game, and how to set you up to be successful. That was important for me, at the time, knowing that there was such a good group of coaches at Stony Brook." But he had a choice to make: play professionally in Hungary or come to America to play collegiate soccer and receive an education. He chose the latter, committing to Stony Brook on that warm summer day in July of 2014. "I could have taken the easy way out, I could have been a pro player in Hungary," Erdei explained. "But my family values education so much, and Stony Brook gave me an opportunity to both receive a degree and continue my soccer career." When he arrived at Stony Brook in the fall of 2014, Erdei had "no clue" what he wanted to study. So he turned to the Seawolves' Life Skills department for help, and Greta Strenger and Courtney Rickard were there to assist him. Four years later Erdei left Stony Brook with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics & Statistics, a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, and a Master of Science in Finance degree. He credits his success in the classroom to the assistance of those who work diligently behind the scenes to help prepare Stony Brook's student-athletes for life after graduation. "I think that Stony Brook is a really good place because of its extra resources," Erdei said. "There's so much more to do beyond going to class and practice, and if you take full advantage of that you can be really successful in whatever profession you choose." Erdei had his share of success on the pitch, as well, as he led Stony Brook in scoring as both a junior and a senior. He finished his career No. 10 all-time in program history for both goals and points, while being named to the America East All-Conference Second Team in 2017. Following his graduation in 2018, Erdei began looking for a job in finance. He didn't have any initial luck, given his unusual set of circumstances. "The issue was that I was an international student," Erdei explained. "Most companies, even if they liked me, they rejected me because they didn't want to have to deal with supporting my VISA status. It would have been a lot of work for them, which I understood." So Erdei – who led the Seawolves with eight goals in 2017 – turned to another trusted advisor at Stony Brook: Director of Athletics Shawn Heilbron. "I had a really close relationship with Shawn while I was at Stony Brook," he said. "Eventually, when I had already applied to probably 100 jobs without luck, I turned to him for some guidance. I told him my story, and he told me that he felt comfortable helping me out." Heilbron put Erdei in touch with Stony Brook alumnus Glenn Dubin ('78, '12). Dubin had made a $4.3 million donation to the University in the past, which helped the Seawolves open a new athletic performance center in 2012. More recently, Dubin donated a $5 million lead gift to support the construction of the Dubin Family Indoor Training Center – which is slated to break ground in July. Dubin had opened a private trading firm in New York City called "Engineers Gate" in early 2014. The hedge fund was designed to create a "next generation platform for quantitative trading," and Heilbron felt that Erdei was a perfect fit for the job. Erdei spoke to Glenn Dubin via phone, then to a hiring manager at "Engineers Gate." A few days later, he became a Trading Execution and Operations Associate at the firm. "It's been an awesome experience so far," Erdei said. "It's motivated me to work hard, and to try and better myself each day. I learned those same values at Stony Brook, and I'll always be grateful for the help I received while I was a student-athlete there." Fast forward four years later – now during the 2018 World Cup – Erdei finds himself glad that he chose to come to Stony Brook. "I'm looking forward to watching the entire game this time in my new home in New York City. "Coming to Stony Brook was one of the best decisions of my life," Erdei said. "I can proudly say that I have no regrets at all. Stony Brook made me who I am today."