Profile of Georgios Spanos: Big East
Soccer Champion

by Catherine Tsounis

The 2006 sports covers of local New York newspapers show a young champion soccer player in a spectacular soccer scene. Georgios Spanos dominated the 2006 collegiate sport. He is known for his steadfast defense. The young athlete, as team captain has taken his team to victory nationally. He takes seriously his responsibility of organizing his entire team from his position on the right defensive flank. Spanos has played every game of the 2006 season except for seventeen minutes. In September 2006, he assisted the goal that gave no. 17 ranked St. John's a 1-0 decision over Big East foe Louisville.

Team Captain Spanos earned Big East weekly honors in September 2006 for his extraordinary efforts at Louisville, in Kentucky. This is the second time Spanos was named the league's "Defensive Player of the Week." Spanos was also the second St. John's University player in weeks to be named to the "Top Drawer Soccer.Com's National Team of the Week." College senior Spanos earned national recognition the same month receiving the "Best of the Rest" honors as Soccer Times runner-up for "National Player of the Week." In addition, he was named to "Soccer America's National Team of the Week."

Spanos led a consecutive shutout effort from the St. John's defense. He extended a shut out streak to 367 minutes with Saturday's September 23rd, 2006 win over Louisville. The same month, the team captain with his players had a round table discussion of their June 2006 soccer visit to Vietnam at St. John's School of Law. The team left Vietnam undefeated 1-0-2. Their spectacular performance catapulted St. John's soccer internationally. (Photo at right: Spanos in a spectacular event.)

"The most rewarding thing I've taken with me from the trip was the interaction with all the Vietnamese children we met," he said. "We felt compelled to give something back to the children, who were so excited to see us. The team was moved by the experience. We decided to all pitch in with our money. We made a donation to the Daughter of Charity Formation Center (a Vincentian organization in Da Lat, Vietnam)."

Georgios Spanos concluded the 2006 college soccer season with a unique record. Captain Spanos with the help of veterans Patrick Engstrom, Billy Hale and Joel Gustafeson to the backline helped drive one of the most dominant defensive performances in St. John's University history. Spanos exudes confidence and strength when he walks with his players to campus activities. "I dominate the area as a defender" he said. "No opportunities are created in my side of the field. My goal is to play professional Soccer."

"Call me Georgios," said the Team Captain, a West Islip, L.I. native. "My mother, Camille, has roots from Southern Italy/Sicily." These areas were part of Magna Graecia. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, says "this is Latin for 'Greater Greece.' Megali Hellas‚ is the [edd: English transliteration of the Greek] name of the area in Southern Italy that was colonized by Greek settlers in the 8th century BC, who brought with them the lasting imprint of their Hellenic civilization. The Romans called the area of Sicily and the foot of the boot of Italy Magna Graecia, since it was so thickly inhabited by Greeks. With this colonization, the Greek culture was exported to Italy, in its dialects of the Ancient Greek language, its religious rites, and its traditions of the independent polis. But it soon developed an original Hellenic civilization, later interacting with the native Italic and Latin civilizations." (Photo at right: Spanos on the field.)

"My father is from Kourounia, Chios, and Piraeus, Greece," said Spanos. "I learned Greek at St. John's so I can communicate with my cousins in Chios. I have practiced with Pan Cyprian over the winter break of 2005. I was raised in a Greek Orthodox family, attending St. Nicholas Church of Babylon, as well as St. Paraskevi Church of Greenlawn, L.I. We attend church on all major holidays. I have a twenty-year-old brother, Frank, who attends the New York Institute of Technology in Westbury, New York."

Georgios Spanos is a college athlete focused with a strong character. "Discipline. Stay truthful," he believes. "I live by two sayings: patience is a virtue and hard work pays off. I build my life with these two sayings. My parents are my role models. They are good people, who work hard and are patient. 'Never take the short way out', they say. 'Respect is earned and not given.'"

"I came to St. John's University, because it is a powerhouse for men's college soccer," he said. "I knew I would develop and make it to the next level. As a senior and Team Captain, I motivate my players, by leading as an example on and off field. I understand their role in the team: positive feed back and build up their confidence. I listen and am tough. A Captain must be tough with the players so we can win." (Photo at right: Spanos receives 2006 Greek American Homeowners Association award from President Alexiou as Maria Botsios looks on.)

"My strategy is visualize myself, on field before a game for a few hours," he explained. "I know what I am going to do on field. Every team you play against dominates an area and one must move ahead. I was "Big East Defender of the Week," August 28th and September 25th, 2006. This was a major achievement. No one has ever gotten two weeks as a national collegiate athlete yet in Soccer for the season."

"I have learned what a dollar is worth from my family," he explained. "I respect persons and am humble. My parents are top class persons. They gave me a way of life. I want to follow their concepts. I want to give to my children, what they gave to me."

(Posting date 20 January 2007

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