Photo courtesy Isaiah J. Downing / Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC announced this past week that its first signing in club history, Luke Vercollone, would be back for his fourth season in 2018, but how well do you know the career of one of the iconic figures in the league’s history?
Here are five things to know ahead of the 35-year-old native of Connecticut’s career so far.
1. ON THE CRUSADE: Before he turned professional, Vercollone had claimed his first championship in the USL pyramid as he helped the Cape Cod Crusaders earn the 2003 PDL Championship. Vercollone scored five goals and added five assists in 18 appearances in the regular season for the Crusaders that year as he was part of a side that also included former USL standouts David Bulow and Joseph Ngwenya. The Crusaders earned a 2-0 victory against the Chicago Fire U23 in the final, a Fire side for which current Nashville SC goalkeeper Matt Pickens and former MLS midfielder Ned Grabavoy both earned All-Conference honors.
2. JOIN THE REVOLUTION: Vercollone was drafted by Columbus Crew SC after completing his college career at Seton Hall University, but ended up closer to home as he signed with the New England Revolution before the 2004 MLS season. Vercollone’s professional debut came on April 27 that year against the Chicago Fire, and he made five appearances before being released at the end of the 2005 season.
3. BRIDGING THE DIVIDE: While not as uncommon as might be though, Vercollone is one player who has suited up for both the USL’s longest-standing members in the Charleston Battery and Richmond Kickers. Vercollone arrived at MUSC Health Stadium after his departure from the Revolution, and made 55 regular-season appearances for the club over two seasons for the Battery. He then headed to the other end of the fierce rivalry in Richmond, where he was a mainstay for the Kickers over seven seasons, making 157 regular-season appearances.
Photo courtesy Charleston Battery
Photo courtesy Brian L. Zimmerman / Richmond Kickers
4. ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH: Vercollone became the first signing in Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC history ahead of the club’s inaugural season in 2015, and when he made his debut in the Switchbacks’ inaugural game it also marked his 100th appearance in the USL’s modern era, which began in 2011. He has since gone on to make 79 appearances for the club in league action, twice leading the team to the USL Cup Playoffs, and is on course to be the first player to reach 200 appearances in the USL’s modern era in the 2018 season.
5. RECORD-SETTING YEAR: Vercollone’s first season with the Switchbacks was notable for another reason, as the veteran earned nomination for the USL Most Valuable Player honor after a career season in front of goal. The central midfielder had only scored 15 goals in his career across his time with the Battery and Kickers, but across the regular season and playoffs in his first year with the Switchbacks Vercollone matched that total as Colorado Springs reached the Western Conference Semifinals of the USL Cup Playoffs.