Sports

St. Mary’s Thongsythavong pens LOI to Norwich

St. Mary's Joey Thongsythavong smiles after commiting to Norwich University as he's congratulated by, from left, assistant soccer coach Joe Gill, his father Boc, mother Angel, and head soccer coach Mike D'Agostino. (Item Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

LYNN — Joey Thongsythavong’s career with the St. Mary’s boys soccer team has been nothing short of remarkable. This past fall the midfielder was named Catholic Central League Most Valuable Player and earned All-New England honors after his senior season.

Thongsythavong took the next step in his soccer career Friday afternoon, signing his letter of intent to Norwich University in a brief ceremony at St. Mary’s. Thongsythavong credits his time with the Spartans for helping him get to the collegiate level.

“I wouldn’t have changed anything looking back on it,” Thongsythavong said. “I remember going into eighth grade and I was deciding between two high schools. Choosing to be here at St. Mary’s was one of the best decisions I ever made. From Freshman year, playing with all those older kids and then staying with my class and growing over these four years. The coaches, everyone here just has a certain impact on your life that you’ll never forget. It will always stay with you.”

St. Mary’s coach Mike D’Agostino knows an athlete like Thongsythavong doesn’t come around too often and is confident he will continue to be successful on the field in college.

“A league MVP, he has all the caliber and materials to play in college,” D’Agostino said. “He has that style. He’s a great leader on and off the field. He was a great captain this year. He showed so much improvement from the beginning of the season helping us grow all the way to the end.

“He’s an all-around athlete,” D’Agostino said. “He’s one of the few that I’ve had that controls the middle of the field. The last 10 years at St. Mary’s he’s done the best job I’ve seen in a long time. He was so close to being an All-American but All-New England is huge. He’s my second player to be All-New England and that is huge.”

After looking at a few different schools, Thongsythavong heard only good things about Norwich and after a few visits he was sold.

“There were a lot of options I was going through,” Thongsythavong said. “I knew I wanted to pursue a military-type school. At first I was looking at Mass Maritime but then my eyes turned to Norwich. A lot of people told me good things about Norwich so I decided last year to go down and visit.

“After visiting I really liked the campus. I wanted to get to know the campus more and the people there so I reached out to coach Adam Pfeifer. He signed me up for an overnight visit there. I visited again and everything just started growing on me.”

After being welcomed by coach Pfeifer and his team, Thongsythavong said he envisioned himself playing for the Cadets.

“The coach is a great guy,” Thongsythavong said. “He was really nice. He took good care of me. The team was very welcoming. They’re welcoming to new players. They see someone new and they just take you in and make you feel comfortable there.”

The Cadets have had their fair share of success in recent years. Last season Norwich went 11-3-4 while competing in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. The Cadets earned a quarterfinal victory in the GNAC tournament before losing to Johnson and Wales (RI) 2-0 in the semifinal of the conference tournament.

Thongsythavong hopes the winning will continue during his four years playing for Norwich.

“I’m going to be a Navy Cadet,” Thongsythavong said. “I’m excited to play soccer there and study mechanical engineering. Going to that team I’m just hoping to win. I love winning and I’ll continue four years there and then after that enlist.”

More Stories From Lynn