Elliot Panicco walks away from the goal after a game. Photo by Chris Crews

Every child at least once dreams of being a professional athlete. The thrill of the game, the cloak winding and the cheers of the crowd is a rush that every person dreams of. The difference between making these dreams reality is a love for the game and a love for the bitter work that Elliot Panicco has always had.

“I started playing soccer when I was about 4 or 5 years old. I started playing goalkeeper when I was about 12 and fell in love,” said Panicco.

The opportunity to play in coleege for Panicco was not just a far off dream. Between all of the long hours spent on the field in high school, and his love for soccer, Panicco was ready for the recruitment letters and scouts that started calling for him his junior year in high school.

“I always loved playing soccer and I just played it for fun growing up and I always had those aspirations to go pro, it didn’t really become a reality to make those dreams come true until my junior year of high school when I started getting recruited by colleges and Charlotte is a big school to be recruited by so i was really excited about that. I’m really happy to be here and to be playing on this level to help not only our team progress but also myself so I can it to make the next level,” Panicco said.

Panicco has always had a passion and a love for soccer. The day-to-day work and effort that it takes to make it to the college level is something that Elliot has enjoyed. When you love the game the bitter work is fun and the long hours are a joy.

“The work load is a lot but I don’t think it’s a lot cause I enjoy coming out here everyday and being around the guys,” said Panicco. “It’s a lot of fun to be here and I don’t think of it as work. I just think of it as another day to be able to hang out with guys that I’m working towards a goal with so I really enjoy it.”

Panicco’s love for the game pushes him to continue to try to be the best. His aspirations of playing at the next level cannot easily be detoured. His personal motivation to be great keeps him pushing day in and day out.

He also draws strength from his team. Panicco takes a lot of pride in the drive that his fellow players possess.  Every guy pushes each other to be better day in, and day out.

“The whole team keeps me pushing, I think everybody wants to push each other and doesn’t settle for mediocrity,” Pannicco said. “I think we all do a good job of making sure that if we do something good we praise them for it and we tell them to keep going and if you slip up them pat on the back and we just keep going.”