High School Sports

Providence’s record-setting Nick Aparicio leads soccer playoff push

Providence High’s Nick Aparicio has set a new school-record for goals. He’ll lead the Panthers into Monday’s second round playoff match at Greensboro Page
Providence High’s Nick Aparicio has set a new school-record for goals. He’ll lead the Panthers into Monday’s second round playoff match at Greensboro Page

Nick Aparicio was a rising sophomore at San Ramon Valley High (CA), when his family decided to make the move cross country from California to Charlotte.

Within 24 hours of taking a “red-eye” flight with his father, Gabriel, Nick Aparicio was already on the practice field, working out with his new, Providence soccer teammates.

“Nick and I (Gabriel) took the red-eye flight to Charlotte, met the moving van and moved all our stuff into our new house on a Sunday (in July of 2013),” Gabriel Aparicio said. “The next day, we got up early, registered Nick as a student at Providence and he was out on the field, practicing with the (Providence) team that afternoon.”

“It was tough coming here (Charlotte) on my first day not knowing anyone,” Nick Aparicio said. “But as soon as I started playing soccer, and the guys saw I could play (well), everybody really took me in and treated me like I had always been here. The entire soccer team made the whole move and transition a lot better.”

Nick Aparicio, who scored 31 goals in freshman year for the San Ramon Valley (CA) freshman team, quickly established himself as a goal-scoring threat for Providence. Aparicio scored 14 goals as a sophomore for a Providence team that went 24-1, winning the SoMeck8 conference title, while also getting all the way to the 4A state quarterfinals.

He got even better as a junior, as he made a dynamic duo with former Providence standout, Matthew Nozedar (28 goals as a senior, now playing soccer at University of Pittsburgh) at forward, scoring 16 goals (second on team).

While Aparicio played a key role in first two seasons at Providence, the 6-foot forward has taken his game to another level as a senior co-captain (with classmate, Shane Swisher). Aparicio not only has a single-season school record 34 goals this year, but also set the Providence High boys’ record for goals in a career with 64 goals now and counting. Providence plays a second round N.C. 4A playoff match at Greensboro Page Tuesday.

Aparicio broke the record in style in Providence 9-0 victory over Harding on Oct. 21, scoring four goals.

But Aparicio didn’t start the game and had just one goal in the first half. In the second half, he had three goals in the first eight minutes, to break the school record.

On the record-breaking score, he collected a loose ball at the 18-yard line and rocketed a shot in the lower right corner of the goal.

Aparicio broke the record of his former teammate, Matthew Nozedar (62 career goals), who set the mark last season. Former Providence soccer standout, Ellie Deaver (now playing for the Charlotte 49ers’ own the girls and over school record with 89 goals).

“It felt amazing to break the record, because I know there have been so many great (soccer) players at Providence before me,” said Aparicio, who has 95 career high school goals now (64 at Providence;

31 at San Ramon Valley (CA) High. “To beat a record set by (Matthew) Nozedar was also cool, because I know how good he was and how hard he worked and I learned a lot from him.…I wouldn’t be the player I am today without guys like (former Providence standouts) Connor Kirby, Nozedar and Evan Pournaras motivating me to play at a higher level.”

Now, Aparicio is trying to be the same type of example and leader for his younger teammates on Providence, from the practice field to the games.

Aparicio has scored two or more goals in nine different games, including five scores against Forest Hills, four goals against Berry and Harding, three scores versus Olympic and two goals against Charlotte Catholic.

He also lead his Providence team in assists with 12 on the season, including four assists in a win over Olympic.

“Nick has elevated his game to another level this season as a player and a leader for this team,” said Providence soccer coach, Nathan Williams, in his first year as the head coach. “But I always tell him,

my assessment of him is not how many goals he scores, but the moments he scores them in.…It was great to see him break the scoring record, but I think we’re all glad it’s over and done with and we can just focus on winning big games.”

While Aparicio is focused on his final season in a Providence uniform, he also wants to keep playing soccer in college.

Aparicio has interest from both Appalachian State and UNC Wilmington and hopes to impress to college coaches enough now and in his club season with the Charlotte Soccer Academy U18 Predators.

“My ultimate goal since I started playing soccer (when he was three years old), was to play college soccer,” Aparicio said. “To get a chance to play on the next level (college) would be a dream come true.”