Plays College Soccer
When Lalas entered Rutgers in 1988, he joined the soccer team playing sweeper after a try-out. He grew tremendously as a player. Lalas was named captain in 1989, and by 1991 was selected as the national player of the year. Rutgers went to the semifinals of the NCAA tournament in 1989 and the finals in 1990. Coach Bob Reasso told Alex Yannis of the New York Times, "He's the most dominant player we've had at Rutgers on and off the field. His intensity, his fire and passion for the game is like no one I've ever seen."
Lalas left Rutgers before completing his degree in English, having already been selected to play for the United States in international competition several times. In 1989, he was captain of the West Team that won the gold medal at the U.S. Olympic Festival. In 1990, he played for the U.S. national team several times, but not in World Cup competition. Two years later, he was a member of the U.S. Olympic soccer team that did not make it past the first round.