Co-Captain Gio Pagliuca ’23 Views Andover Boys Soccer as His Family

Andover Boys Soccer Co-Captain Gio Pagliuca ’23 creates a sense of family with his teammates by leading by example and supporting others when they are down. Though he started playing soccer because of his family, his teammates are what have made him continue playing. Pagliuca learned from his former captain’s demonstrations of teamwork and collaboration early on in his Andover Boys Soccer career, which has helped him towards his role as captain today.  

“I looked at the upperclassmen, and especially the captains of my team, as role models. I try to model my own captaincy off of how they led. For me that looks like including everyone and making sure everyone’s enjoying being together, whether it’s on the field or off the field. For me, the best way to bring that sense of camaraderie is by including everyone in whatever activity it is, making sure everyone’s engaged,” said Pagliuca.

Pagliuca continued, “On the field and in practice sessions, it’s easier to bring that sense of camaraderie because you’re all working towards an obvious goal, but I think it can be a little more difficult off the field, and I think the best way off the field to build that sense of team spirit is by being really intentional about creating and maintaining positive relationships, so constantly reaching out to the guys, making sure they’re alright, having fun with the guys and just enjoying each other’s presence.”

According to Jonathan Bu ’26, one of the things that Pagliuca does best is maintain a cool head during games, which leads to control and positivity on the field. Bu says that Pagliuca always encourages team members to get back up even when they make a mistake. 

“Whenever someone makes a mistake or makes a bad pass, he always comforts them. We try not to put others down because that’s the worst thing you can do in that kind of situation, to yell or put someone down on the team, and you just want to encourage them so they can make a better play the next time,” said Bu.

According to Ryan Lam ’24, not only does Pagliuca provide tranquility on the field, but he is also a captain that players can look towards for support off the field. Lam recounted a personal experience in which Pagliuca cheered him on even after a difficult day. 

“I remember one time I was feeling really down. I think that time, I got a bad math grade back on a test—this was last spring… but because he’s a day student, he took me and maybe three other teammates; we just went, and we drove to his house between ASM and period seven, and his parents treated us to a meal, and I really did feel better,” said Lam.

According to Pagliuca, soccer has helped him understand the significance of team chemistry and working together. Throughout his four years on the team he has learned that the only way to grow and be strong as a team is by working together. 

Pagliuca said, “I’d say soccer’s helped me a lot, just by being able to understand the team dynamic the sport allows. In soccer you can’t win, score goals, or meet your expectations if you don’t go at things as a team. If it’s not a collective effort, you won’t achieve your goals and that’s a big thing I’ve learned through soccer…. If there’s not a sense of unity and camaraderie amongst a group of people, there’s not going to be any success.”

While Pagliuca is unsure of what his future in soccer will look like, he is certain that he will continue playing. Encouraged by the connections he made in soccer at Andover, playing on a team is the perfect way to enter a new environment. 

“To some capacity I’d love to play soccer in college, I’m not sure if that would be at the varsity level, or maybe the club or recreational level, but I’ll definitely plan on continuing to be a part of a soccer team in college, just because of that camaraderie, really the relationships that soccer has given me. I definitely want to keep making those relationships into college and I think soccer is a great vehicle to perform these easy relationships with like-minded people,” said Pagliuca.

Editor’s Note: Ryan Lam is a Subscriptions Manager for The Phillipian.