Newton-Conover's Gildo signs with Montreat College for soccer

Michael Christopher
Sports Editor

Newton-Conover senior Orlando Gildo watched as his soccer teammates signed to go to college. At first, he thought about joining them but decided to go out on his own.

Gildo realized his dream of going to college and playing soccer as he signed with Montreat College in Montreat, North Carolina to compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
"The campus, it just comes to life whenever I'm there," he said. "It feels perfect, and then the way the team plays is aggressive and they always train hard. Which is something I like, I like to train hard and the coaches always look out for the players to make sure the players do their best."

He was a part of a group of seniors that won two NCHSAA Class 2A state championships at the bookend of their careers -- as a freshman in 2014 and senior last fall.
"It's a great day for him and our program as well. Chucky's meant a lot to the rest of the guys that have signed as well. He was the heart of the team. That motor that just never quit. He was able to play two-to-three games in a row with the same intensity," Newton-Conover head soccer coach Angelo Palozzi said. "He always played at the top and he's definitely going to add value to Montreat. If he starts right away or not he'll be there eventually because he never quits. The kid never gets tired and that's a credit to his father and grandfather who trained him a lot growing up, and it definitely paid off for him."

Montreat plans to use Gildo as a center midfielder.
"I was told that I have a chance at a varsity spot but it's up to me whether I decided to start or not," he said. "It's going to be difficult because it's college. It's a quicker pace and more physical but I think I can do it."

The Red Devils standout played in 25 games helping Newton-Conover to set a school record 27-0-2, it's first unbeaten season in the program's history. He contributed 10 goals and 11 assists.

Gildo said while he made his own decision on where to play he is looking forward to playing against a former teammate in the same conference.
"I knew a lot of the soccer players were going to try to go to the same college. I was thinking about it too but I wanted to do something different. Go on my own and meet new people," he said. "When I found I was going to face Francisco Tapia in the conference I was like, 'that's going to be fun. I'm not toning it down or nothing. I'm just going to go play me and do what I do."

Palozzi said the camaraderie between his players is a strong bond that continues beyond their prep careers.
"They're good friends, they've always played together and eventually they all just kind of go off on their own. But, it'll be fun to see the battles of these guys playing against one another," the Newton coach said. "These guys are like brothers and it's a special thing to see.