Up until his freshman year, Cam Pelle was still a field player. He only turned to goalkeeping when his freshman team at Fairfield Ludlowe High School needed a shotstopper, so he volunteered with basketball and baseball experience in hand.
Fast forward to this past spring, and the 17-year-old realized his Division 1 soccer dream, verbally committing to Elon. That came while playing club soccer for Everton America in the New York Premier League, a remarkable about-face for the Fairfield, Conn., native.
“I’ve heard so many great things about the school,” Pelle said. “My friend’s sister went there and all I’ve heard is she loved it. I really can’t wait to get down there.”
Pelle’s excitement is partially because he’ll join the Phoenix on an accelerated timeline for the Spring 2019 semester. That’ll allow Pelle to play in Elon’s spring season, but he’ll first backstop Beachside’s U-19 Development Academy team ahead of shipping down to North Carolina.
After talking with Elon’s coaching staff, they determined it made sense for Pelle to join the DA. With that would come better competition, as the Northeast division contains Major League Soccer academies in New York City FC, New England Revolution and Montreal Impact.
“It was always a goal of mine to play academy and it’s been in the back of my head for quite a while now,” Pelle said. “After I got recruited to Elon, their coach called me up and said it’d be best for me get used to that environment. I’m really thankful for this chance to play at Beachside.”
During the recruiting process, Pelle also had serious interest from Coastal Carolina, Bentley and Babson.
To even convince Elon to recruit him required some good fortune. The Fairfield goalie coach, Javier Decima, knew the Elon staff well, so Pelle did several 1-on-1 sessions with him. Upon Decima’s recommendation, the Phoenix were convinced.
“Things sort of just fell into place from there,” Pelle said.
Pelle, who’s almost recovered from a sprained right MCL, joins a Beachside team with two other early, D1 commits. Center back Zach Dedrick (Wilton, Conn.) is verbally committed to Notre Dame, while forward Ryan Winkler (Monroe, Conn.) is slated to play at Princeton.