LOUISVILLE, Ky. — All roads eventually lead home. That is especially true for former University of Louisville Cardinal Paolo DelPiccolo.
DelPiccolo joined Louisville City FC in February after spending a season with the Charlotte Independence. He said the decision to return to Louisville was an easy one, for several reasons.
“The city itself is a good size,” DelPiccolo said. “It’s got great things to do, good people, good food and stuff like that.”
In addition to his love of the 502, DelPiccolo said the attraction of playing for a great, up-and-coming club like Louisville City was a major factor in his decision to move back to Louisville.
“One of the main reasons I came back was because of coach James O’Connor and the team that he has,” DelPiccolo said. “It was just a really good fit for me and my career.”
On March 10, DelPiccolo, UofL’s all-time assists leader, had the chance to play against his alma mater for the first time. LouCity won the battle for Louisville, 1-0. The midfielder said that the game was strictly business, despite wearing purple instead of red at UofL for the first time.
“Almost the entire team is new; there are not very many guys I played with,” DelPiccolo said. “It was good to see coach (Ken) Lolla again, but for me it was just another preseason game. Something to focus on and try to improve and get better at.”
When DelPiccolo played for Louisville, the Cardinals played at the old Cardinal Park. Since his departure, UofL upgraded substantially. In 2014, the university opened Dr. Mark & Cindy Lynn Stadium, a state-of-the-art stadium worth $18.5 million. DelPiccolo said he was in awe after spending his four years at Cardinal Park.
“It’s crazy,” DelPiccolo said. “That facility is really just spectacular. I’m proud of where the soccer program has come.”
Although DelPiccolo is happy for UofL soccer, he admitted feeling a bit of jealousy for the players who get to play at Lynn.
“It’s awesome to see because I have a lot of pride for the school,” DelPiccolo said. “But it also makes me a little jealous because I was playing my games in Card Park and now they’re playing in a stadium like that.”
DelPiccolo is not technically from Louisville, (he hails from Wheat Ridge, Colorado), he said his return to Louisville means a lot to him simply because he feels so comfortable here.
“It’s good to be back,” he said. “I really enjoyed going to college here and I like the city and the people. So to come back, it’s really nice. It’s really comfortable for me.”
Entering 2016, Louisville City FC has returned 13 players from the 2015 roster — including reigning USL Goal of the Season winner Aodhan Quinn and former English Premier League striker Cameron Lancaster. New additions include MLS Cup-winning forward Chandler Hoffman, DelPiccolo and University of Kentucky alumnus Davis.
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Louisville City FC begins regular season play on March 26 at Charlotte Independence. LouCity then returns to Louisville Slugger Field on April 2 to host New York Red Bulls II in the home opener, with a special 3 p.m. kickoff.
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