Most kids are introduced to sports at a young age. Whether they stick with it or not typically depends on their love of the sport, as well as their skill level and dedication growing with them. According to some statistics, many kids stop playing sports between 11 and 13, as they lose their love of the game. However, for senior mass communications major Cameron Verona, this is the age when he fell in love with the sport he grew up playing, soccer.
Verona started playing soccer when he was 3. His dad was the person that kicks started his love for the sport, taking him to play in the neighborhood.
“My dad and I, when I was 3 years old, used to always go out into the cul-de-sac of the unfinished houses in our neighborhood and we would play soccer 3v3,” said Verona. “I would get beaten every time. I would come home crying and slamming things around my house.”
These 3v3 games helped shape Verona’s competitive drive and made him want to take his skill to the next level. When he started playing soccer on a real team at age 5, he was a forward, where he continued to play until he was put in as goalie about four years later. This is where Verona found his true passion as a soccer player.
“I was never playing at a level that was top-flight until I was a junior in high school,” said Verona. “I got my shot and worked for it and it helped me get into college.”
Verona played at Reinhardt University for his freshman year in college before transferring to Piedmont University to get more time in goal, and this is where his career as a keeper gained traction.
“He’s always been one of the best keepers I’ve played with,” said Ian Addison, a senior defender for the Lions. “He’s easily one of the most dedicated soccer players I’ve ever met.”
Addison and Verona have known each other long before their collegiate careers. Having played together for about six years, Addison has seen how Verona has grown as a player and person over the years.
“He takes it very personally when he gets scored on or when it comes to working hard,” said Addison. “He’s super passionate about it, which I love, and he’s only progressed further with every year that he plays.”
Verona has the determination and competitiveness to hold his own in the goal, but it’s his focus on improvement that makes him one of the best goalkeepers in the conference. In 2021, Verona led all USA South goalkeepers with 69 saves and finished second with an .802 save percentage. His 69 saves also ranked him fourth overall in NCAA Division III
“Verona has only gotten better since he’s gotten here,” said senior sports communication major Davis Barlow.
Barlow has been a Piedmont University go-to sports reporter, so he has yet to miss a single home game in the three years Verona has been playing for the university.
“He put in some great work this year and really held down that young backline,” said Barlow. “There were a lot of freshmen on the field and he did a great job leading them not only on the field but off the field as well. He wants to continue to play at the next level, and with his drive and heart he can.”
With roughly four weeks left until graduation, there were a lot of questions being thrown at Verona about what he wanted to do with his life.
“It’s never wavered for me,” said Verona. “I’ve always been sure that this is what I wanted to do with my life. It’s been a dream of mine since I was little.”
Cameron Verona has signed to play with East Atlanta, a semipro soccer team, starting this summer. His goal is to ultimately play soccer on a professional level, and with his skill, determination, and drive, that goal is pretty much in the bag.