Nick’s Story: From ACL Rehab at Professional to Major League Soccer Team


Nick’s Story: From ACL Rehab at Professional to Major League Soccer Team

By Professional Physical Therapy

Nicolas Fleuriau Chateau is a division 1 soccer player at St. John’s University and one of the top scorers in the country scoring 14 goals (7th in NCAA) in 2023. His story begins in the Spring 2021, when Nick was playing soccer against Syracuse. He was on the field, tried to jump around a defender and when he stepped to run past him to chase after the ball, he felt something snap. He remembers telling his coach as he was jogging off the field that it’s not my ACL because it does not hurt enough.

After a visit with his doctor and an MRI test he was diagnosed with an ACL tear. He needed surgery.

How Nick Prepared

Mentally it was not that difficult for Nick. He says when things happen, he accepts the situation and focuses on recovery. He never asked, “Why me?”. He just knew he had to work hard to get back on the field.

ACL reconstruction is a surgical procedure. Generally, recovery takes about 9 months to regain strength and power in the injured knee. It will typically take 9 to 12 months before athletes can return to their sport. Nick had his work cut out for him because he had to be ready for the 2024 MLS SuperDraft.

Starting Physical Therapy at Professional After Surgery

The beginning stages of rehab focused on reducing pain and swelling. Then as his recovery progressed, his PT plan looked to build strength, so he could gain more confidence in his legs. After that, more achievable goals were set in place to get him back on the field.

“Most difficult part of rehab was knowing when to relax and to listen to my body.” says Nick. He was introduced to a rehabilitation program and worked with Professional’s Angelo Marsella MA, ATC, USAW, Director Athletic Training Services and Neil Moss, DPT. Angelo shares, “Nick was so hungry to get back on the field, he was doing too much too soon. We had to pull him back to make sure his body was ready.”

Nick’s Treatment Plan at Professional

Nick’s fierce determination and mind set helped accelerate his recovery journey. With that in mind, Angelo and Neil created the following customized treatment plan, specifically to meet his patient’s goals.

  • Manual therapy, to decrease swelling and tightness in the knee.
  • Range of motion exercises, to help overall leg mobility.
  • Hip and knee strengthening, to help improve single- leg balance and proper function and stability of the knee.
  • Balance exercises, including static and dynamic balance exercises in various positions to improve the body’s position sense and joint mobility.

Professional scheduled Nick’s rehab 2-3x/week on St. John’s University campus with Neil and Angelo. On off days he worked with his athletic trainer at St. John’s.

Nick’s Results

Nick started to regain function in his knee after 3 months. As Nick gained his strength back, we slowly integrated him back into running and progressed into agility and plyometric work to get him ready for the demands of soccer.  With constant work and guidance from his team, Nick was back to his previous athletic level after 9 months.

Nick says the first time back on the field was an emotional moment for him. It made him think of how much work he did and how far he’d come. He gives a lot of credit to Angelo and says,

“He knows how to get the best out of me and how to push me in the right way. He is almost like a second father to me. We are very close and that made it much more fun and easier. I made so many relationships during my recovery that I know will last a lifetime, which I am extremely grateful for.”

Post-Rehabilitation

After the successful completion of our physical therapy program, it is important for Nick to stay diligent with his in-season and off-season training programs. It is also important for any recovering athlete to listen to and take care of their body so they can stay healthy and productive throughout their careers.

Professional’s Angelo Marsella works with many athletes and shares,

“Most rewarding for me is the end stages of the rehab where you are getting involved with sport specific functional training to see how they can do getting back on the field. I had no concerns about Nick getting back on the field. I knew he was a strong kid. He put in a lot of work and effort to get to the point where he was – safe and able to produce the way he did. As a result, he had a phenomenal year!”

Nicolas Fleuriau Chateau was selected by the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, with its third-round pick in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft. The Professional Physical therapy family wishes him much success and good health as he joins a major league soccer team.

Click here, to see Nick tell his recovery story.

As a patient, you can expect the same individualized recovery plan no matter what your goal is, using the most state-of-the-art technology and practices to get you back to enjoying life. If you’re in need of physical therapy or wish to consult with our skilled physical therapists, visit Professional Physical therapy.

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