Saturday afternoon started as a day of celebration for the Louisville City FC community. Their match against El Paso Locomotive FC marked the 200th USL appearance for club captain, Paolo DelPiccolo. DelPiccolo was honored before the match; a ceremony that would prove to be the high point of the entire evening for LouCity FC. El Paso Locomotive FC would shock the home side on their day of celebration, handing Louisville a 3-0 defeat at Lynn Family Stadium.
Despite the defeat, it was still a historic day for LouCity FC, recognizing the incredible contributions DelPiccolo has provided the club over the years.
Louisville City FC Captain Reaches Historic Milestone
It wasn’t always smooth sailing for the LouCity FC legend. Early on in his career, it seemed unlikely that DelPiccolo would ever make 200 league appearances for a single club.
After a successful college career at the University of Louisville, DelPiccolo was selected by the Montreal Impact in the MLS draft. DelPiccolo had different plans as he opted to take his talents to Europe in the hope to break into the top ranks of professional soccer.
In 2013, he signed a deal to join Eintracht Frankfurt II; the reserve team of the Bundesliga side, Eintracht Frankfurt, in January of 2013. Unfortunately, coming in halfway through the season, the American found very little success with the German side, making just seven appearances with zero goal contributions. DelPiccolo was released at the end of the season.
Following the season, DelPiccolo decided to depart Europe and return to North America. He signed with Montreal midway through the 2013 MLS season, however, he was released at the end of the year without making a single appearance. He was then selected by the New England Revolution in the MLS Waiver Draft but was cut before the start of the following season.
Success on the Horizon
After struggling to find success at the MLS level, DelPiccolo began to find his footing playing in the USL, the second tier of North American soccer, signing for Phoenix United SC (Now Phoenix Rising FC). DelPiccolo played a pivotal role in the Phoenix midfield, making 27 appearances and adding two goals over the course of the 2014 USL season.
Paolo DelPiccolo would depart Phoenix at the end of the season and sign with the Charlotte Independence, also of the USL, for the 2015 season. He played an important role in the Charlotte midfield, making 26 appearances. Following the 2015 season, DelPiccolo would return to the city of Louisville, signing with Lou City FC, and the rest is history, as Paolo DelPiccolo has been an integral part of the club ever since. He captained both championship-winning teams in 2017 and 2018 and was named the MVP of the final in 2017.
LouCity is confident that the team they’ve put together this season can make another run at the title as DelPiccolo continues to captain the side.
Last week, DelPiccolo became the first LouCity player to make 200 @USLChampionship appearances for the club
— Jeff Milby (@JeffMilby) March 24, 2023
Personification of Perseverance: Paolo DelPiccolo
Longevity of this kind has rarely been seen at the top level. He becomes the 12th player in USL history to achieve this feat. For DelPiccolo to insert himself into a top team like LouCity and remain a key part of the team over the course of seven seasons is a true testament to the passion and persevering attitude he possesses and that you see him play with every time he touches the field.
When asked what the milestone means to him, Del Piccolo responded: “It’s nice, it’s something that I feel lucky to have the opportunity to do, not just get the playing time but just to be around for this long.”
To make 200 appearances in the USL is an incredible feat in and of itself and that’s before mentioning the incredible resolve DelPiccolo has shown over the course of his career to get to this point. Having been released by three clubs in just two seasons to begin his career, many people would’ve given up. DelPiccolo was determined to show that he had what it takes to make an impact at the professional level. Over the past decade, he’s been an embodiment of hard work and commitment.
Day of Paolo DelPiccolo Celebration Overshadowed by Poor Performance
Unfortunately, LouCity was unable to follow up DelPiccolo’s pre-match celebration with a win. Players and supporters alike were shocked not just at the defeat, but at how badly they were beaten by a team they expected to beat handily.
El Paso scored two goals just before halftime and added another in the second half to take home an important victory. They are first of the season, after starting the campaign with three losses in their first three matches.
LouCity FC manager took the brunt of the blame for the team’s performance, saying in a post-match interview:
“Ultimately, it lands on me. I spoke to the players about making sure that we have a good reaction. The turnout tonight was fantastic. We wanted to put on a better performance. But ultimately, we fell way, way short. It was nowhere near the level of expectation we have here.”
However, a number of key absences undoubtedly had an impact on the team’s poor performance. Wilson Harris, Wes Charpie, and Ray Serrano all missed the match due to injuries. Josh Wynder missed the match as he was on international duty with the USMNT U-20 side. Brian Ownby was another key figure who sat out with a suspension resulting from his red card in the team’s last match against Monterey Bay FC.
Despite the loss, Louisville still very much anticipates being in the title chase at the end of the season. As players continue to return to the club, LouCity will surely pick up momentum and get back to their usual winning ways. Look for Paolo DelPiccolo and Lou City to be a serious contender for the USL title this season.
Photo Credit: Alton Strupp/Courier Journal on June 12, 2019, of Paolo DelPiccolo’s Headshot.
The post Historic Milestone for Louisville City FC Captain Soiled by Defeat appeared first on Last Word On Soccer.