Junior joins PV soccer after leaving ‘world-renowned’ team

Junior+Adrian+Pilet+has+spent+two+seasons+playing+soccer+with+the+Barca+Residency+Academy+soccer+team.++Now%2C+he+plays+for+the+PV+boys+soccer+team.

Matt Austin

Junior Adrian Pilet has spent two seasons playing soccer with the Barca Residency Academy soccer team. Now, he plays for the PV boys soccer team.

Alan Stepanov, Sports Writer

A new opportunity arose for Adrian Pilet when his dad saw an advertisement for the Barca Residency Academy soccer team in Arizona in a magazine. Pilet set his sights on the program and was ready to try out. 

“[After] my dad saw Barca Academy [in the magazine], he looked [into the program],” Pilet said. “I went [to Arizona] for three days and I did really well in the tryout, so I made [the team].”

Barca Academy’s website describes itself as a “world-renowned” soccer club affiliated with the professional team FC Barcelona

Following two seasons of playing at one of the most competitive levels of youth soccer, Pilet, a junior, is now focused on contributing to the Pascack Valley Soccer Team.

“[The MLS Next League] was definitely a really high level of competition, probably the highest in the U.S. to be honest,” Pilet said. 

With high levels of play come high expectations and pressure to perform.

“[On Barca], everything that you do has to be perfect,” Pilet said. “If you make a mistake, you get screamed at, [while at PV, if] you make a mistake, you try and get the ball back. It’s way more fun, and you can enjoy soccer more. ”

Due to the high cost of the academy and sustaining injuries, Pilet decided to leave the team. 

As is common when transitioning to a different league, the style of play takes some adjusting to. Whereas the academy level requires more technique and quicker thinking, Pilet finds that the high school level has a greater emphasis on physicality.

Pilet said that his PV teammates have been welcoming to him since he joined the team. Olivia Jackson

“The style of play [at PV] is definitely more physical,” Pilet said. “[At Barca Academy], you have to be more technical, [and] you have to decide what to do when you get the ball immediately.”

Pilet added that despite the contrast of play, he thinks that his approach has benefited the team.

“I think that I have a different style of play,” Pilet said. “I like to possess the ball [and] shoot the ball more, so I think that I’m a good asset to the team because I’m different [in] the way I play.” 

PV history teacher and soccer coach Luciano Cofrancesco agrees with that point of view, also believing that Pilet has had a positive impact on the team.

“It’s really nice to have Adrian on the team,” Cofrancesco said. “He’s a great kid, a good player, and [his teammates] have [adapted really] well to him. [He] is another set of eyes [and has] a good set of feet, [which] is helping us move forward.”

Although he is a newcomer to the team, Pilet and the rest of the team have adjusted to each other quickly, managing to form team chemistry in the process. Pilet said that his teammates have been welcoming throughout the process and have helped him fit in since the start of the season.

“I think it’s really worked out for him,” Cofrancesco said. “It seems like he’s always been a part of the program, which is great.”

What might be an even greater difference than soccer is the school environment between Barca and PV. 

At Barca, Pilet would spend all day with his teammates, attending classes together, practicing, eating dinner together, and boarding there. 

Although Pilet doesn’t spend as much time with his teammates now as at Barca, he feels that there are more friends around at PV.

Even though he doesn’t know exactly what the future holds for his soccer career, Pilet is determined to put forward his best effort in order to continue playing the game he loves. 

“I’ve been thinking about [playing in college],” Pilet said. “Coming off of an injury was hard, but I’m going to try out for different teams again [and try to play at the same level] that I played at Barca after [I graduate] PV.” 

As for right now, his objective is simple: “For me and the team, [the goal] is to win from here on out.