Heading into his second full season as a goalkeeper for Scottish club Celtic, Dominic Cervi is hoping to see some significant playing time during the 2010-2011 campaign.
Cervi spent all of 2009-2010 as the third goalkeeper on the squad and never saw any action in Scottish Premier League play nor any of the Cup competitions.
The native of Norman, Oklahoma is looking to change that for the upcoming season whether it is with Celtic or if it entails a loan to another club.
"I would love to start but I don't know if that's going to happen here, especially with Arthur [Boruc] having been the starter here the last four years and Lukasz [Zaluska] is proven as well," Cervi recently told YA. "I never made my competitive debut last season so I'm just looking for a chance this year. It's still too early to know if that will happen or not."
Celtic officially started their preseason training Thursday with a new coach at the helm. Neil Lennon has taken the reigns at Parkhead where he played for seven seasons and helped the Glasgow club win five SPL championships.
Cervi is unsure whether or not Lennon will give him a shot at playing in significant matches this season but should he find himself on the outside looking in, he would welcome a loan to a club where he would want to face stiff competition.
"If Arthur and Lukasz both stay, I'll be looking to get on-loan somewhere," he acknowledged. "The most important thing is getting playing time and experience. Friendlies just aren't the real thing so a loan would be great as long as it's a good, quality team and I would also be facing quality competition. I want it to be worthwhile."
Before officially joining the club last season, the former University of Tulsa standout spent the 2008-2009 season training with the club.
The change of going from college soccer in the US to training with one of the world most renowned club was initially very startling for Cervi, but now he feels comfortable training among his teammates and understands what it means to be a member of Celtic.
"Coming out of college to a club like this, it was a big change," he said of the transition. "You have to have a lot of pride when you play for Celtic. When you wear the jersey, you are representing one of most-followed clubs in the world. You realize how much it means to people.
That pride and emotion is something Cervi feels the Hoops need more of in order to reclaim the SPL title from long-time crosstown rivals Rangers who have lifted the last two SPL trophies.
"We have to remember who we are and who we play for," he stated firmly. "Last year we weren't playing as hard as we could have… There was sometimes a lack of heart and will and we had trouble stepping up and Rangers took advantage of that."
The 42-time SPL champions will spend a couple weeks in Scotland for training before making their way to the US to play in several friendlies against MLS franchises and an exhibition in Boston's Fenway Park against Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon.
Also on the docket is a match where the Philadelphia Union of MLS will host Celtic. It should be a special one for the Cervi family as more than 30 relatives from New Jersey will be making the trip to hopefully catch the 23 year old netminder in action.
The task that Cervi is finding more daunting is not necessarily competing in front of friends and family but rather coming up with tickets for everyone making the trip on July 14th.
"My parents are from New Jersey so I have a lot of family in the Philadelphia area. My parents keep calling me saying, ‘oh, you need to get a ticket now for this person and then this person…' I think I now have to get about 30-40 tickets so that should be interesting," he chuckled.
Cervi and Celtic will begin their 2010-2011 SPL season on August 14th versus Inverness.