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Penn State’s Noah Pilato Key To Greenville Triumph’s USL League One Championship

Former Penn State men’s soccer midfielder Noah Pilato recently won his first trophy at the professional level.

Last Thursday, Pilato and Greenville Triumph became the 2020 USL League One champions, the third tier of American soccer.

Pilato had a breakout year, starting in all 16 games of the shortened season. He had three goals this season, which is the first multi-goal campaign of his career and included the September Goal of the Month.

The league season was shortened to 16 games due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pilato and Greenville acclimated to the unique circumstances well, leading the league from the first weekend en route to winning the league by six points.

“Even though there was a lot of stuff going on in the outside world, the coaching staff and the players just made it easy to stay focus on soccer,” Pilato said.

The USL planned on a shortened playoff format for League One, with just the top two teams playing in a championship match. The final was originally scheduled for last Friday, with Pilato and Greenville hosting Union Omaha.

But as this year has shown, anything can happen. The unexpected once again occurred when multiple Omaha players tested positive for coronavirus. The league canceled the match and awarded Greenville the USL League One championship title.

Pilato and his teammates found out they were champions as they got to the locker rooms following training on Thursday.

“We all got off the field, and it took a little while to set in. We got back to the locker room and the front office staff were waiting in there with some beverages,” Pilato said. “It was a little bit weird, but to say it was anticlimactic isn’t the right word because we deserved it.”

The way the season ended was unexpected, but Pilato just saw it as a sign of the times.

“Everything about this season was unconventional, so it was almost a fitting end,” Pilato said. “We would have loved to play the final and win it that way, but what we did in the regular season shouldn’t go unnoticed.”

Pilato’s individual success didn’t go unnoticed in his first year in Greenville. The Virginia native earned a place on the AllLeague First Team, one of five Triumph players to earn their spot.

“It’s an extremely special honor. My hard work doesn’t just come from me, it comes from the front office to the other guys around me,” Pilato said. “Like I said, it was an extremely unconventional season, but to have the support system that I had really contributed.”

After a strong 2020 campaign, 24-year-old Pilato is leaving his options open in the offseason.

“I think we have a really good thing going here in Greenville. The culture is unbelievable, it is a very professional environment. [A potential transfer] is something I will figure out in the offseason,” Pilato said.

“Right now, I’m going to take in the championship and celebrate the great season we had.”

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About the Author

Otis Lyons

Otis is a sophomore majoring in print journalism and is one of Onward State's associate editors. He lives just north of San Francisco, and is a diehard San Jose Earthquakes fan. Feel free to send over your soccer hot takes to his twitter @otisnlyons1 and instagram @otislyons

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