Fox Chapel’s Carnevale commits to Lehigh after taking academy route with PA Classics

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019 | 5:15 PM


Since he was a little kid, Fox Chapel’s Will Carnevale has dreamed of playing soccer at the next level.

Carnevale played for the Foxes as a freshman and a sophomore, but after a few sessions with the PA Classics, which is one of only three clubs in Pennsylvania that participates in the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy League, Carnevale received an invitation to join the program.

Committing to that opportunity meant that Carnevale would have to sacrifice a lot.

He wouldn’t be able to play high school soccer anymore. He would have to make the four-hour drive to Manheim at least once a week and he would have to balance all of it while training on his own and keeping up with his school work.

All of that sacrifice and hard work paid off for the Fox Chapel senior, who has goals of being an engineer one day.

On Wednesday, Carnevale officially committed to play soccer at Lehigh University after displaying his talent at some of the top showcases in the country with the Classics the past few years.

PA Classics coach Steve Klein, who is also the director of coaching for the club, said Carnevale’s commitment to the program describes the type of person and player that he is.

“He’s a very dedicated player. He and his family are sacrificing a lot to come out here (to Manheim) and he does it because he wants to play at the highest level,” Klein said. “The Development Academy is the highest level for youth soccer players and I think that competitiveness and determination is a very strong asset he has.”

Over the course of his junior and senior seasons, Carnevale garnered interest from a few other programs in the ACC, America East, Big East, and Patriot League Conferences. But, Lehigh, which is currently set to play in the Patriot League championship on Saturday, ultimately felt like home.

“They have a great school, their team is doing great, and I love the coaches there,” Carnevale said. “I’m super excited and it’s a lot of stress relieved after committing. They were probably my No. 1 school because of the coaching staff and they have a great engineering program.”

His commitment to the Patriot League contender came on the heels of Carnevale recovering from a groin injury that required surgery in May and kept him out of training and showcases for the majority of the summer.

Besides a heel injury that required him to wear a boot when he was a sophomore, this injury was the first major one of his career.

“I ended up getting surgery mid-summer and then I came back at the beginning of September,” Carnevale said. “I missed all of the soccer camps too, so it was definitely tough.”

The injury came at a difficult time as Klein said Carnevale was just starting become accustomed to the style and speed of play of the Developmental Academy league.

“He really started flourishing in December of last year, which is the end of our fall season when we have our December showcase” Klein said.

In the middle of September, Carnevale returned from his injury and he’s been on a tear ever since. In the past six games, he’s scored a total of seven goals and Klein said he’s starting to develop a sixth sense for being in the right place at the right time.

“He has good speed and quickness and he’s really starting to develop a knack for scoring goals and being dangerous in front of the net,” Klein said. “He’s really developed since he first joined.”

With a few months to go before he heads off to Lehigh, Carnevale is excited to prepare for the next step in his soccer career and do whatever it takes to succeed at the next level.

“I just want to continue to try and stay healthy and continue to improve as a player,” Carnevale said. “Hopefully I can earn a starting spot as a freshman next year, and I’m just going to try my best, work out and try and get stronger.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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