The latest guest on New England Soccer Journal’s “The Goal” podcast was New England Revolution Academy midfielder Jack Panayotou (Cambridge, Mass.).
The Class of 2022 product will begin his college career at Division 1 power Georgetown next month. Leading into that, he’s had a very memorable few months.
Earlier this month, Panayotou led the Revolution Academy U-19 team to the club’s first MLS NEXT Cup championship. He scored the lone goal in the 1-0 championship victory over the San Francisco Glens. He had six goals during the tournament in Frisco, Texas, and was awarded the Golden Boot.
In June, Panayotou was called up to the United States Under-19 Men’s Youth National Team for a pair of friendlies against England and Norway in Marbella, Spain. In April, Panayotou made his professional debut for Revolution II.
Panayotou joined host Matt Langone to reflect on his recent major accomplishments and what lies ahead.
The full podcast can be accessed below and is available on all major platforms. If you enjoy it, please leave a rating and a review.
Here are some highlights from our conversation.
On the run to the historic championship for the Revolution Academy:
Panayotou: “It was unbelievable. If you told me at the start of the season that we would end up winning it, I wouldn’t really believe you. I guess we were the fifth seed in our division, and we didn’t really qualify. We sort of barely got in on the last day. But once we got to the tournament, I really saw the players we had and the camaraderie we had with the group. I had a feeling we were going to win the whole thing, and then going through five games, we had some ups and downs for sure, but I think overall we were only really trailing in the tournament for 20, 30 minutes.”
On scoring the game-winning goal in the championship:
Panayotou: “It was a real team goal from us. When our center mid played the ball our way to try and beat a couple of guys, I called for the ball there and a lot of people didn’t see but our striker, Isaie (Louis), actually checks his shoulder and sees that I’m open and he takes their center back and pushes him out of the space. So, ultimately, I had an easy tap-in there and I ran over and did the (Kylian) Mbappe celebration — that’s one of my favorites that I’ve done a couple of times now.”
On deciding on a goal celebration:
Panayotou: “It’s sort of a mix. For the one against Dallas, I was like, ‘Oh, if I score today, I’m going to do the points-to-the-jersey on the back. But sometimes you score and you’re excited and you’re in the moment, and sometimes it doesn’t pan out, sometimes it does. It’s sort of whatever comes to you.”
On making his pro debut:
Panayotou: “After the game, I watched the performance. While I was in it, I was like, ‘you know, it’s a lot faster, it’s a lot more physical and I know I need to push myself and there’s areas that I need to improve.’ But I felt like I wasn’t far off this level, and if I continue to be better, I can go into this level and eventually do really, really well.”
On why he chose Georgetown:
Panayotou: “First of all, all I’ve heard is great things about their head coach, Brian Wiese. Everybody I’ve talked to says he’s a fantastic soccer coach and an even better guy, even a better person. And secondly, their program is one of the best in the country and it develops top pro guys.”
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