Intermoia's Championship Goal Highlights UWF Men's Soccer Success
Aug. 13, 2008
PENSACOLA, Fla. - West Florida men's soccer standout Nolan Intermoia got his chance to win a national championship this summer in what he described as "an absolute dream come true." The upcoming senior spent his second season with the United Soccer League's Premier Development League team, the Thunder Bay Chill based out of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.
Intermoia became the second West Florida soccer player to win a PDL championship in the last five years, following Jon Hargis who won with the Central Florida Kraze in 2004. Two summers ago, Intermoia and his Chill team suffered a losing season with a 2-11-3 record, the team's worst in its nine year history. This year, however, would be described by the PDL as "one of the most remarkable turnarounds in PDL history." Pensacola native Intermoia was not only a part of the first-ever Canadian team to win the PDL, but he also scored the winning goal off of a penalty kick.
"I was stepping up with a lot of pressure, but I felt confident in my PK's and just felt a rush of excitement through my body when I scored," said Intermoia of his success.
The PDL is a U-23 amateur league that operates under the USL Professional League. The PDL is considered a top amateur league, allowing elite players to develop in a professionalized setting while still maintaining their college eligibility.
Defender Intermoia earned a spot on the All-GSC first team in the 2007 season, after two consecutive All-GSC second team selections. He started all 20 games for West Florida in 2007, scoring four goals throughout the season, two of which were game winners.
"I feel like my fitness and mentality level are at 100 percent," said Intermoia. "I'm looking forward to leading the guys in my senior season and my goal is to hopefully clinch our third consecutive GSC title." UWF men's soccer was chosen first in Gulf South Conference pre-season poll that included Intermoia in the pre-season All-GSC team.
Also making big strides in professional soccer is former UWF student-athlete Keith Savage. A 2007 graduate, he was the first draft pick by Chivas USA of Major League Soccer shortly after finishing his senior season with the Argos. Savage made his second start of the year this past Saturday against the Chicago Fire. A former standout with the PDL's Central Florida Kraze, Savage has played three games and started two for Chivas, totaling 153 minutes and one assist in his professional career. On Saturday, August 2, both Savage's game versus the Kansas City Wizards and Intermoia's PDL championship match were televised simultaneously on two separate channels, nationally airing two West Florida soccer players at once.
"It was a unique, but good problem to have one current and one former player on prime time television," explained Head Coach Bill Elliott as he described recording different games in order to see both Intermoia and Savage in action.
Former West Florida soccer players Felipe Lawall and Majell Aterado also recently played against each other in a Major Indoor Soccer League contest. Lawall was drafted by the Orlando Sharks, while Aterado was drafted by the California Cougars. Aterado tallied 10 goals for the Cougars and Lawall chipped in with five goals for the Sharks.
Also signing a professional contract was 2007 third team All-American Juan Garcia. A goalkeeper from UWF, Garcia signed professionally with a Colombian team but will spend the season out due to a torn ACL. Five Argos in the past decade have played professionally prior to this group, including Aaron Cook (Iceland), Jon Hargis (USL-1), Jon Stefannsson (Iceland - European Champions League), Keith Segovia (Poland), and Nic Stankov (USL-1). In addition to those five, Lequient Holbert was the first overall pick in the USL-1 draft in 1998.
Over the summer Elliott coached first year PDL franchise, the Panama City Pirates, which included four former Argonauts on the roster. Jimmy McHenry, Dusty Fouser, Nick Mroczkowski, and Felipe Lawall started their season with the Pirates with a 0-4-1 record in May, but were unbeaten in June. Elliott and the Pirates still had a chance for a playoff berth with two games left in the season.
"I think our players' success at the PDL and professional level is an indication of the quality of competition in the NCAA Division II," said Elliott. "I feel you would be hard pressed to find many college programs at any level that have had such a steady stream of players elevating themselves to the next level."
Looking ahead to the upcoming 2008 season and beyond, many Argonauts will have a chance to continue playing at the next level. Returning seniors Jay Mainville and Matt Williams may be the next to advance, or it may be an incoming freshman yet to prove himself. Marquel Waldron, a freshman from Warwick, Bermuda comes in after leading the U-20 Bermuda National Team as Captain. Freshman midfielder Paul Willoughby is expected to have an impact on the Argonaut season after competing on the Region III ODP team and earning a spot on the GSC Top Newcomers list.
West Florida soccer is hopeful for another successful season, as they continue to produce players capable of playing at a professional level. The Argos have two consecutive GSC Championships under their belts, as well as a perfect 6-0 season in conference play in 2007.
UWF will start the 2008 season on the road, facing non-conference opponents Flagler and Thomas. The Argos will face Flagler on Friday, August 29 at 7:30 p.m. ET and Thomas on Sunday, August 31 at 4:30 p.m. ET. Fans can follow all the action on www.GoArgos.com.