Ardsley head coach Eric Petrone referred to junior Pierce Dillon as the team MVP, adding, “We’re lucky to have him back next year.”
Dillon controlled the action from his midfield position — breaking up opponents’ plays, passing to teammates, and scoring from long range.
The Panthers moved up from Class B to Class A this fall and finished 9-3-0. The team lost to White Plains in the semifinals of the Southern Westchester Large Schools regional tournament.
“We knew that was going to be a challenge, but I believe that we embraced that challenge,” Dillon said about the change in class. “Our captains — Eddie Santos, Luca Fuente, Alec Levi, and Vincenzo Spiniello — inspired the team to put in the work over the summer which I believe has really propelled us to having such a successful season.”
Since 2017, Dillon has also played for the New Rochelle-based Westchester Flames, led by head coach Sean Kenny.
“Both my club and school coaches have played a vital role in my current success as a player,” Dillon said. “Coach Petrone as a motivational, inspiring figure and coach Sean teaching me how to be more technical, quicken my speed of play, and become smarter on the pitch.”
Dillon picked soccer at age “3 or 4” and played in the Midwest and England before New York.
“The difference in the style of play is noticeable, but not too extreme,” he said. “I love how the sport is not all about the physical aspect of a player — it's not a sport where the strongest, fastest, and biggest kids win.
“The most important thing you can have as a soccer player is a good soccer IQ and the ability to think quickly when having the ball,” he explained. “This enables anyone to be good at the sport, which is what I love about it. Another reason I love the sport is because of the team aspect. You win and lose together — and the team is only as strong as its weakest link, which drives us to make each other better each day.”