49ers strike it rich with Bronico

Feb. 18, 2013 @ 10:32 PM

Brandt Bronico has always wanted to be the best soccer player he can be. From long, tiring training sessions in the offseason to fighting for tough scoring opportunities in key games late in the fall, he has always been willing to do what it takes to achieve that.

During his career at Wesleyan Christian, it has earned him numerous individual accolades and helped his team win back-to-back state championship titles. Now, with his illustrious prep career completed, it has also earned him a college soccer scholarship.

Bronico, a senior midfielder for the Trojans, has signed to continue his soccer career with Charlotte, a strong NCAA Division I program over the last few decades that reached the national finals in 2011.

“It’s an awesome experience right now, and I’m just looking forward to getting to Charlotte,” says Bronico, the son of Alison and Jim. “There are more things to come. So, I can’t just focus on this point — I have to also focus on the future.”

Growing up, Bronico tried a number of sports, but his first year playing soccer, at 5 years old, he didn’t step on the field at all. The next year, though, he finally made it on the field and loved it, and he continued to grow with it and work to develop into a top-notch player.

At 8 years old, Bronico, who now stars at midfielder, made his Challenge U-10 team, much to his surprise, and that just solidified in his mind that soccer was his passion. From there, he has worked tirelessly to improve, never feeling that it was a grind to work out and train.

“It’s just the will to improve,” he says. “I feel like I improve every day when I play. And I just love playing the game. I made a lot of friends on that (Challenge U-10) team, and I just enjoy it more than any other sport. I have a really good time and I’ve just stayed with it.

“And scoring goals is the best thing ever,” he says with a laugh.

During his career with the Trojans, in which they made three straight state title appearances, Broncio’s accolades have included being named all-conference three times, NCISAA All-State twice, NCSCA and NSCAA All-Region twice and NSCAA All-America as a senior.

His senior year, Wesleyan won all 25 of its games — including winning its second straight 3A state championship against Greensboro Day — and finished the season ranked No. 3 among all high school teams in the country by the NSCAA.

“Lots and lots and lots of goals,” Trojans coach Scott Reitnour says of what Bronico has brought to his program over the years. “I’ve really enjoyed coaching his passion, his drive and his respect for the game. He’s brought professionalism and a serious mentality on the pitch.

“I’ve enjoyed trying to shape the passion he has for the game. He’s been one of our best attacking players that we’ve had at our school. And we’re going to miss him.”

After narrowing his choices to also include North Carolina, Elon and UNC Greensboro, Bronico selected the 49ers, who had seen him play while his N.C. Fusion Academy team played against Charlotte-area academy teams and was recognized by their coaches.

“I feel very confident in my decision. I’m ready to get there and make an impact next year,” says Bronico, who wants to study engineering or sports medicine. “I just loved the campus, and they gave me a great offer. The coaches were also very approachable and made me feel very comfortable during my visit.

“I couldn’t really say no to that,” he says with a laugh.