When Brett Campbell returns to the area with his Georgetown teammates for a friendly against Bethlehem Steel FC on Sunday, he'll have a chance to reconnect with some familiar faces from his past.
But he'll also have an eye to the future as he looks ahead to a senior season with the Hoyas he hopes will land him where so many of his college teammates have ended up, in Major League Soccer.
The former two-time Gatorade Pennsylvania Soccer Player of the Year who played high school soccer with The Haverford School and was part of the Philadelphia Union youth setup and local club Continental FC Delco hasn't had as charmed a college career as anticipated when he arrived in the nation's capital in August 2013.
"Brett was always sort of fighting for minutes with Brandon (Allen) and his freshman and sophomore year he would just get spot minutes," Georgetown head coach Brian Wiese said in a phone interview. "It was hard for Brett because the lionshare of the minutes were always going to Brandon."
In his first two seasons, Campbell only found the back of the net twice but had his most productive yet when he cracked the starting lineup playing as a right winger in the fall, scoring four goals and assisting on three others.
Allen, who broke the Hoyas all-time scoring record last season, is now with the Red Bulls and Campbell is heading into his last year in his preferred position aiming to crack double digits in goals.
"I'm just excited to get some ample time at forward and score a lot of goals next season," Campbell said in a phone interview.
Score goals is exactly what Campbell did on a recent spring break trip to England, netting a goal against Everton FC and recording a brace against Queens Park Rangers in training ground matches.
"Just seeing some of these training facilities was amazing," Campbell said of his first trip to England.
While Campbell hopes to fill the goal-scoring void left by Allen, there are several other holes to fill for the Hoyas, including midfielder Alex Muyl who left a year early to sign a homegrown deal with the Red Bulls and a back line (Union defenders Keegan Rosenberry and Joshua Yaro, Josh Turnley and Cole Seiler) that all had their names called in the MLS SuperDraft in January.
Reserve forward Melvin Snoh, who spent time with the Union Academy, is another senior departure for Wiese's team while another player with ties to the Union Academy, midfielder Jon Azzinarri, will compete for more minutes his senior year. Hoyas star goalkeeper JT Marcincowski will miss Sunday's friendly while away with the U.S. U20 team for the Dallas Cup.
Wiese said he's been impressed with Campbell's work ethic and hunger.
"He's matured a huge amount; he's a much more composed finisher," Wiese said. "And he's hungrier than I've ever seen him."
Talking to Campbell, it's clear what his end goal is.
"I'm pretty sure I will be captain next year and I'm hoping to use that influence to bring the team to another Big East title and ultimately a national title," the double-major in finance and management said. "If that all goes according to plan and I'm scoring goals, which I hope to do, I'd like to get drafted by a team and turn pro."
Playing for the Union, an organization he's certainly familiar with, would be "amazing," Campbell said, noting that he plans to play again for a third summer with the Union's Premier Development League affiliate Reading United AC. He said he's not sure whether he would be eligible to sign a homegrown deal if the Union were interested. The Union tried to sign Rosenberry but were denied their homegrown claim and ended up making a trade to draft him No. 3 behind second pick Yaro.
Sunday's friendly at 11 a.m. on the Union Training Ground outside Talen Energy Stadium will be another opportunity for Campbell to show what he's made of against high level competition closer to home. He's excelled in the past against tough opponents, chipping the goalkeeper for a goal in a friendly last January against the recently crowned MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy.
"I'm excited to have good competition," he said, noting that he hopes to get a chance to battle with his former teammate, Joshua Yaro, who has been getting minutes with Bethlehem Steel.
Campbell and his teammates plan to attend the Union match afterwards and get a look at former Hoya Steve Neumann, of New Hope, and Union defender Rosenberry.
"It will be a good day of soccer," he said.