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Soccer gave his life a kick start

Page 2 of 2 -- That trait extends back to Vercollone's days in youth soccer.

Matt Stone of Pembroke, best friends with Vercollone since the second grade at Hobomock Elementary, said that even as a youngster, Vercollone showed high ambition.

"Luke deserves whatever success he gets," said Stone, who played soccer at Stonehill College. "He always had more drive than anyone I've ever seen. No one ever wanted to succeed like he did."

At Silver Lake, where he was an honors student, Vercollone closed his senior soccer season by being named All-State, All-Conference, and the team MVP. He was also a two-time state finalist in wrestling.

Two months after graduation, he followed his older brother, John, to Seton Hall, where he made the Pirates' varsity as a freshman walk-on. As a senior captain in 2003, Vercollone led the team in points (21) and assists (11), while tying for the lead in goals with 5. He guided the Pirates to a 9-6-4 record, and earned All-Big East First Team honors.

"I'm not surprised by anything Luke has done," said former Silver Lake boys' soccer coach Bill Johnson. "Even at a young age, Luke did the extra things that had to be done. He would play as often as possible. He always had a soccer ball at his feet. Seeing him with the Revolution just makes you proud."

Vercollone credits Johnson and youth soccer coaches Joe Ricardo of Marshfield and Nick Palantzas of Brockton with teaching him the game.

Vercollone has moved back home, settling in the basement after another sibling claimed his old bedroom. In a league where only select players make six figures annually, rookie salaries won't cover the rent of a posh apartment.

"That's OK with me," said Vercollone, who recently found himself besieged by autograph seekers during a younger brother's youth soccer game. "I didn't get into this game for the money. I got into this because I really enjoy soccer. I mean, I get up every morning and my job is to train to play a game."

Paula Vercollone said she has noticed a significant change in her son over the past few years.

"He seems so much calmer now," she said. "He's more comfortable with himself. Everything doesn't have to be perfect. Jack and I look at each other and pinch ourselves that Luke is out playing for the Revolution.

"We wonder if this has really happened to our child." 

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