Sometimes in life, things don’t always go according to plan.
But life has a way of changing unexpectedly, at times when we don’t even see that change coming.
Shawnee State forward and Valley graduate Bryce Romanello can attest to that. As an Indian, Romanello was a four-year letter winner in both soccer and football, and was awarded the SOC’s Conference Player of the Year as a junior in 2014.
The 2014 season was a special one at Valley for Romanello. He finished with 34 goals scored, which was tied for 17th most in the state regardless of division.
The success didn’t stop there, however. On the football field, Romanello set the single-season touchdown receptions record at Valley with 10 touchdown catches as a junior.
Romanello remembers his big time junior season with the Indians, who finished 12-3 in 2014 and made the state semifinals of the OHSAA Division VI playoffs.
“It’s great leaving some kind of mark on a program with such success,” Romanello said. “I also have to thank [quarterback] Bryan Rolfe for those spot on tight end dumps.”
Although you couldn’t tell from the numbers, Romanello recalls that playing both soccer and football was hard on him.
“Balancing both soccer and football was tough, trying to stay fresh and injury free was the biggest thing for me,” Romanello said. “Tough stuff trying to balance the two sports requiring the most endurance.”
After that big junior season in 2014, Romanello seemed poised for a huge senior season at Valley. However, those plans fell through when Romanello suffered an MCL tear in his last year with the Indians.
“The injury was a heartbreaker,” Romanello said. “Not being able to finish something you started in junior high was a terrible feeling.”
Up to that point, Romanello was “expecting to play football” in college until he sustained the injury. He was unsure about what to do, until he found his next home at Shawnee State playing soccer for the Bears.
Romanello said joining Shawnee State’s soccer program was “a great decision.” Even with his undoubted athleticism, though, the injury still made it hard for Romanello to be the player he was used to being.
“The injury coming into SSU definitely took its toll on me,” Romanello said. “Not being able to condition to maximum effort really hurt me coming into the preseason. College soccer conditioning is no joke.”
It took a lot of hard work and extra effort for Romanello to recover during conditioning and the preseason. But once the season started, he was ready to go as a freshman for the Bears.
In his first season at Shawnee State, Romanello started in 17 of the Bears’ 18 games. By the end of his freshman season, Romanello tallied eight goals for Shawnee State, which led the team. Although he had success, the Bears finished the season with a 5-12-1 record.
“I really enjoyed playing with SSU this past year,” Romanello said. “It may not have been the outcome expected with the talent we had last year, but in all it was a great experience meeting new friends and playing the beautiful game.”
Getting set to start his sophomore season at Shawnee State, Romanello is optimistic that the upcoming season can be promising for the Bears.
“We have a lot of great talent coming in with the freshman class,” Romanello said. “If we work hard, we could have a great season.”
Shawnee State opens the season on Monday, August 20th against Saint Xavier University at the Shawnee Turf.
Reach Ben Spicer at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926 OR on Twitter @BSpicerPDT