Shady leader Vecellio signs to plat soccer WVU Tech

Mar. 11—Michael Vecellio was the key cog in the Shady Spring boys soccer team getting over the hump.

Next up, he will continue his career with a well-established college program, in a style with which he is familiar.

Vecellio recently signed his letter of intent to stay home and play soccer at WVU Tech. He will major in mechanical engineering.

"I've worked hard," Vecellio said. "I'm grateful to be here (at Tech), but it's four more years to work harder."

Vecellio was also considering Randolph College in Virginia and Hood College in Maryland. His familiarity with Golden Bears head coach Oliver Hewitt-Fisher was instrumental in his decision. Vecellio has played for Hewitt-Fisher's Legacy travel team.

"I think the main factor for me was just Ollie as a coach," Vecellio said. "I've played for him for so long and I know him. I like him as a coach and I like his coaching style. I think it made the decision a lot easier."

"Michael's a phenomenal athlete," second-year Shady Spring coach Josiah Smith said. "Phenomenal teammate. Phenomenal soccer player. One of the things I've enjoyed as I've coached Michael is that he hasn't been a static player. He hasn't been somebody who's stuck. He's been somebody who's progressed. He's gotten better all the time and more of a help to the team throughout the time that I've had him.

"That's really what you have to do at the next level, is be able to continue to grow, and I expect him to be able to continue to grow."

The Tigers defeated PikeView 2-1 last October for the Class AA/A Region 3, Section 1 championship. Shady, the No. 1 seed, won its first sectional championship since 2011.

The following week, the Tigers went to perennial power Charleston Catholic for the Region 3 championship game. The game went to a shootout tied 1-1, where the Tigers fell just short, 6-5.

Vecellio was vital to the Tigers' resurgence. He was a Class AA/A first-team all-stater last fall after finishing with 35 goals and seven assists, and had 65 goals and 12 assists over his last two seasons.

"It's amazing," Vecellio said of the program's rise. "I hope it brings more people to want to try it out or come out and do it. It's a big deal."

"He has been a massive impact player for our team," Smith said. "Incredibly physical player, but yet he plays with a lot of grace and can put people off balance. Lethal goal scorer, but he's not only fixated on the goal. He's gotten a lot of assists, sets people up. He's a team player."

WVU Tech perennially battles Rio Grande for the top spot in the River States Conference. Last fall the Golden Bears defeated the RedStorm on PKs for the tournament title and NAIA National Tournament bid.

Vecellio said he plans to bring one thing to the Tech program.

"Hard work."

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