Konomis works to expand his professional career
Mike Neville – Sports Editor
From starting off in the bright lights of New York in Long Island, to growing up in the coastlines of Cyprus, Greece, soccer has always been Pantelis Konomis’ passion. Now a junior, he is ready to begin the next chapter of his career as a member of the Owls.
Starting his career at the age of 6 and competing in Greece from 12 to 16, Pantelis eventually found his way back to the states.
“When I came back to New York, I started playing at Nassau Community College and then I came to Southern,” he said.
After coming for a visit in order to expand his professional career, Konomis said he was intrigued by the Southern community.
“The coaches were really good with me and the campus was really nice,” said Konomis, “I know Southern has a successful history in soccer, that is why I decided to come.”
The success that Konomis was referring to is the Owls men’s soccer team bringing a stalwart force in Division II men’s soccer for the early parts of the 21st century.
Head Coach Tom Lang said his connection with Nassau coach Dan Fisher is how he heard about Konomis, which led to him to go see Konomis perform in-person.
“I went to see him play at the National Junior College Championships at Nassau Community, his coach at the time recommended him to me,” said Lang.
Key characteristics that Lang said stood out to him were the role and impact he had in the game that was almost accidental.
“A player had gotten hurt, so Pantelis had to change his position on the field, when he was playing his position, he had an influence on the game, when he left for another position the game changed,” said Lang.
A defender and midfielder, Konomis said that there is a big difference in the culture of soccer in Greece versus the United States.
“In Greece and Europe soccer is the main sport, here there are different sports that are more popular,” said Konomis.
Konomis said every kid dreamt of playing soccer professionally, something Konomis is still chasing.
“My goal is to play professionally after college, I hope to have a few good seasons here and hopefully that will catch someone’s attention,” said Konomis.
Although the season is still up in the air due to COVID-19, Konomis has set the bar high for himself.
“I want to get Southern where it should be; at the top, for everyone on the team to work together and set personal goals to achieve,” said Konomis.
Lang gave great praise for Konomis on multiple fronts: from the kind of person he is off the field to his work ethic on the field.
“The physical and technical components that he possesses immediately captured the eye,” said Lang.
If the season is to start in the spring, Lang said big things are in store for Konomis in the two years he will be with the Owls.
“It is still yet to be determined where he will fit in best with us once we get the whole group together in the spring,” said Lang. “His strengths lie in the center of the field, either central midfield or back of team.”
With the team mostly made of international athletes who have been quarantined due to COVID-19, Lang said the chances are high for Konomis to make an impact with the Owls.
“He has had the opportunity to train and put work in over the summer, and peaked at a competitive level,” said Lang. “We are easing into it and will build up over the next few weeks.”