Sparta's Lodico to play soccer at Viterbo - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Sparta's Lodico to play soccer at Viterbo

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SPARTA, Wisconsin (WXOW) -- Aiming to improve upon a 3-13-2 season, the Viterbo men's soccer team adds more local talent. Sparta's John Lodico III will play for the V-Hawks next fall.

Lodico made it official Tuesday at a signing ceremony with his parents and Viterbo's new head coach Greg Saliaras. The V-Hawk skipper said the team is in the midst of a rebuilding process which includes an upgrade to a more tactical, "Spanish" style of play.

"It will be an adjustment for all of the young guys coming in," Saliaras said. "If they have the intelligence and work ethic that John [Lodico] has, they will be fine."

Saliaras is looking for what he calls "good character" athletes like Lodico to help turn the team around. The Sparta senior said he's not daunted by the new playbook.

"Not that the local teams are that European way of playing, but we've kind of updated our style since several years ago when I remember playing--just kind of kick the ball around. Now there's a lot more tactics, a lot more finesse," he said.

Lodico also noted the university's proximity to home, plus the familiarity with some of his new teammates, including former Spartan Mitchel Pauley, as reasons why Viterbo is a good fit.

"I will probably have played the other people, whether…in a good competition or whether it was a rough battle, but I'm glad that we'll at least know each other's playing style," said Lodico.

The V-Hawks graduated only one senior from the 2012 roster and have just two returning for 2013. Saliaras said he hopes the teams' young, home-grown talent is a key to turning around last year's losing season. 

"A lot of people think that in order to compete you have to bring foreign players in, but I think we have a lot of talent in the area," the coach said. "We can just bring it in, and they'll be willing to work for you. It will be a lot easier transition."  

Off the field, Lodico said he's interested in science and plans to study biochemistry at Viterbo.

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