Last Updated: Thu Dec 23, 2021 - 3:49AM
Anthony DiFalco has been a household name in the Western Pennsylvania high school soccer scene since his freshman year at Franklin Regional. Known for his elite goal scoring and sharp passing skills, the Panthers standout will be carrying those talents over to the collegiate level next year as he recently made his commitment to play for Duquesne University. The three-time All-American found comfort in knowing that he could continue his soccer career locally and he had some familiarity with the Dukes coaching staff.
“I picked Duquesne because I’m really close with the coaches," DiFalco explained. "They are really nice to me and I think they have a really good plan for me coming into next year. The assistants for the Dukes were at my previous club team and I loved the way their intensity was and the way they pushed their kids. I thought it would be a good fit for me, having that kind of level of intensity to push me.”
Over the course of his career DiFalco has had to adjust to countless outside factors that have, in one way or another, impacted his career. The most recent was last fall when his team had to adjust to a new head coach, Thomas Louisy, who replaced former coach Rand Hudson. With the coaching change it also brought a shift in formation on the pitch for the Panthers but oddly enough it was a familiar situation for DiFalco.
“It was good, the coach (Thomas Louisy) was really supportive of me and he relied on me a lot,” said DiFalco. “He put a lot of trust into me this year. I actually had him at a club I played for a long time ago. I knew what was going to be expected of me and once the season started we got a lot more comfortable and the guys on the team started to like him a lot. I thought it was a really good first year with him coaching us.”
The coaching change prior to DiFalco’s senior season was one thing, but having to deal with the added aspect of the Covid-19 pandemic while in the midst of his college recruitment was another. The pandemic made it difficult for DiFalco to showcase his talents in front of college coaches, but it also allowed him to take his time with his college decision. Since there was so much uncertainty with collegiate athletics, DiFalco patiently made his decision and did not rush his choice of where he would continue his soccer career for the next four years.
“I wasn’t really sure at the time where I wanted to go when it came time to make my commitment. I wanted to take my time and make sure I went to the school I wanted to be at. Covid had a really big impact at first with camps being canceled and not being able to showcase your talents anywhere. Coaches couldn’t come out to your games so it was hard to get coaches to watch. Everything was through film.”
DiFalco put together one of the most decorated high school soccer careers ever at Franklin Regional. In addition to being a three-time All-American, he was also named All-State three times and was a three-time All-Region player while finishing as the program’s career leader in goals with 118. His individual success seeped into the overall team’s success during his time with the Panthers, as he helped guide them to WPIAL Class 3A titles in 2018 and 2019 as well as two PIAA semifinal appearances. Despite winning two WPIAL titles, DiFalco noticed differences in the two championship seasons regardless of the similar outcomes of the respective years.
“The first year was my freshman year so that was a whole new experience," DiFalco said as he was comparing the championship runs. “The second year after winning it the first year I knew how much more it meant to try and win a state final after winning a WPIAL. We tried really hard my sophomore year, we really pushed each other and we tried to be really prepared for the moment.”
Although he’s had significant success over the last four years, DiFalco knows that he will need to continue to improve as a player overall to excel at the collegiate level. He’s aware of the strengths he will bring to the Dukes next season, but is also conscious that he will need to make some adjustments, specifically to his physical makeup. Like his college decision, DiFalco is going to take it easy on the college preparation, and is going to take this time now to enjoy his recent success on the field.
“I’ll change the way my workout routine is right now. I’ll start doing things at a higher level to be prepared for the college physicality, you aren’t playing boys anymore you are playing men so you have to be prepared for that,” said DiFalco.
“My technical ability and my vision will help me out at the college level next year, but I’m going to have to work on my fitness. The fitness is the biggest part of my game I’ll have to work on if I want to have a chance to get some minutes for Duquesne, but I’ll have to figure that out and come up with a plan later.”
Westmoreland Recruiting News
Penn-Trafford lineman Luke Jollie committed to Grove City College.
Tyler Mocello of Belle Vernon will golf collegiately at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.
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