When Pietro Bottari went to Italy to study abroad for his junior year, Frank Kucinic knew what he was missing.
“I had him the first two years, and you knew from the get-go he was a special kid, a special player,” said Kucinic, the boys soccer coach at St. Joseph’s Catholic School.
Kucinic has Bottari back for his senior year. Next year, the left-footed fullback will play for Winthop University after signing a National Letter of Intent to continue his career with the NCAA Division I program in Rock Hill.
“He’s dynamic in such a way that you can put him pretty much anywhere on the field,” Kucinic said. “But he’s such a real big threat for us with the system we play coming out of the back. I think his sophomore year before he left, he may have very well led the team in assists as a left fullback. So his ability up and down the field in transition plays to our strengths.”
Bottari moved with his family from Italy when he was 2 years old, and he’s been attending St. Joseph’s since he was in the seventh grade, with the exception of his junior year.
“My family’s Italian, so I decided to go study abroad and learn the language better,” he said. “It was a really neat experience, a different culture, and it really helped me to grow culturally.”
However, he did miss out on the Knights winning the Class A state championship. Not that they let him forget.
“They always bring their rings around when we go somewhere, and they brag to me,” Bottari said. “But hopefully I’ll get one this year.”