Adjusting to the next level feat. UNC Charlotte standout Elliot Panicco
We are really excited for our readers to get their hands (and eyes) on this interview! One of the top goalkeepers in all of college soccer took time out of his busy post-season to sit down and answer a few questions for us. UNC Charlotte standout goalkeeper Elliot Panicco gives us plenty of insight into what it takes to reach the top of the Division 1 college ranks and how he is preparing for the next phase of his career. Read all about it below!
What is your first goalkeeping memory that you can think of that really got you hooked on the position? What were some of the main reasons you decided to become a goalkeeper?
I had a lot of great memories as a kid growing up playing goalkeeper. I didn’t truly make the switch to keeper until I was about 11 or 12. Once I did make the switch to goalkeeping, I fell in love with it. The thing that I loved most that got me hooked was the fact that if I did my job I was able to help my team out by keeping the scoreline the same and keep my team in the game. The satisfaction of making a big save when no one expects you to is something that I love and is what got me hooked on goalkeeping.
How do you think the Development Academy helped you prepare for the next level in college?
The Development Academy was a big help in preparing me for college because it allowed me to play against some of the best players in the country and allowed for more training during the week. I was able to compete 4 or 5 times a week with some of the best competition and ultimately the same guys that I would be playing against in college so that was huge in preparing me for college. Another great thing was the fact that they have a great showcase system that allows you to be seen by college coaches all across the country which makes recruiting much easier for players and coaches.
Let's talk the recruiting process. You're a local (ish) guy; what made you choose UNC Charlotte over some of the other schools you were looking at?
I had several offers from schools along the east coast including a couple of ACC schools. What set Charlotte apart from the other schools was the coaching staff. At Charlotte, they made it clear to me that everyone in the locker room has the same opportunity as the guy next to them. No one comes in and automatically plays because of who they are or where they come from. Players have to earn their playing time and the coaches really emphasize training and developing players. They also showed me that they cared about my life outside of soccer and wanted me to mature as a man and wanted what was best for me. I loved that development was a big part of the culture at Charlotte because I knew I wanted to go to the next level and I also knew that at the age of 18 I wasn’t ready for that. Working hard and improving everyday was something that I felt like I could guarantee to give myself a chance at playing and looking back I am so glad I chose Charlotte. I don’t think I could have found a better place to spend the last 5 years of my life.