Lake Dallas alum Anthony Patti has always shown appreciation for every step that he has taken in his soccer journey.
Patti finished his high school career as Lake Dallas’ all-time leading scorer with 57 goals and 28 assists before signing with Mercer University and then transferring to UT Rio Grande Valley for his sophomore season.
These days, Patti is appreciative of the chance that Albion San Diego, a professional soccer team that currently plays on the third tier of the United States soccer league system, took on him. Patti signed a two-year contract with ASD on March 10. It’s his first professional contract, one that is slated to pay him $2,000 per month with the club covering the cost of his apartment.
“It was almost like a surreal moment,” he said. “I didn't really process it all the way that this was my first professional opportunity. It felt like it was something that I couldn't pass up. It's a dream that I've had since I was a kid.”
Patti grew in Salvador, Brazil, before he moved with his family to the United States at the age of 5. Of course, Brazil has produced some of the best soccer players of all time, including Neymar, Pele and Ronaldo.
Turns out, it was a fellow Brazilian, Pedro of M7P Sports, who helped Patti to land his first professional contract.
“He wanted to see if anyone was interested in me,” Patti said. “We made a video of all of my highlights. Luckily, this team was very interested in me. I was at school one day and I had no idea. The head coach here gave me a call and said they were interested in me and gave me a contract. I was very surprised.”
The opportunity to turn pro was one that came as the result of good timing. Patti wasn’t sure about his future playing college soccer after last fall didn’t go as well as what he had hoped. However, Patti returned to UT Rio Grande Valley in January for strength and conditioning workouts. He said doing all of the works got him ready physically for the start of ASD’s season.
But before Patti signed with ASD, he was asked about his future by the team’s head coach.
“He asked me where my head was at, asking if becoming professional was an option, if school was something that I wanted to pursue,” Patti said. “They said that they were very interested in me and they think if I can make an impact on the team.”
Patti, a left-footed defender, made his professional debut in the U.S. Open Cup earlier this month. He called it a “crazy experience,” saying there were lots of fans in attendance with drums being played in the stands.
Patti said that he is appreciative for the teammates that he has, saying that they have helped him out with the mental aspect of playing professionally.
“This is huge for me,” he said. “I really believe everyone has a different journey. This is just one step in my journey. It's a great chance to play professionally. It'll be very ideal to make it to the next level, hopefully overseas or on the next step of the U.S. soccer pyramid. I am super focused on improving every day and helping the team win and improve as a player and as a person.”
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