IR soccer standouts Izzo, Cannon sign letters of intent
Just more than two months after winning Indian River High School’s first-ever state soccer championship, senior standouts Sam Izzo and Sam Cannon each signed letters of intent to play collegiate soccer — Izzo at Bloomsberg University in Pennsylvania and Cannon at Lynchburg College in Virginia.
“My phone was ringing last night. I had a few coaches calling me, asking me to delay my decision or change my decision,” Izzo said this week. “It was stressful, to say the least, but I believe I made the right call.”
Izzo said the school’s academic reputation — specifically, its business program — was the main factor in his decision process, but, as an added bonus, his older brother currently plays soccer there, as well.
“It just felt like home there,” Izzo explained of his decision. “I felt like I could have a good four years at Bloomsberg.”
In choosing Lynchburg, Cannon also weighed several different factors.
“I wanted a small school,” Cannon noted. “They’ve got a good soccer program and a good biology program. They’re graduating three senior goalies, so I’m going to try and compete and start [as a freshman]. And if I don’t, then my next job is to just be a leader and make the next guy in front of me as good as possible for the team.”
Izzo also hopes to make an early impact at Bloomberg.
“My goal is to make an impact my freshman year, whether that be starting or coming in off the bench and making myself important to the team and playing my role,” Izzo said of his expectations as an incoming freshman. “Whether it be the guy that comes in for five minutes at the end of the game to secure a win or if it’s the guy that plays 90 minutes — you’ve just got to figure out your role and perform in that role.”
Ironically, Cannon’s cousin and Indian River graduate Chris Conover just finished a storied soccer career at one of Lynchburg’s main rivals — Roanoke College.
“It would have been awesome,” said Cannon when asked what it would have been like to face his older cousin at the collegiate level. “The assistant coach at Lynchburg was his assistant coach at Roanoke. I have a lot of Roanoke stuff, but [Conover] said he was going to root for me. He really gave me the inspiration to go further and match that and play in college.”
While Izzo and Cannon are both equally relieved to finally make their decisions — and equally confident in those decisions — they also hope that their accomplishments will inspire younger players to set similar goals and continue working toward them.
“They see us make the decision to play at the collegiate level, and a lot of these kids have that same goal,” said Izzo. “I hope that it pushes them to work harder, train harder and keep pushing themselves to the next level, so that they can one day get to this point where they can play in college.”
Cannon hopes to set the same example. “Maybe us playing in college can push these [younger players] to try harder — try harder for the team and try harder for themselves.”