Ashburn, VA (March 31, 2015) – Stone Bridge High School junior, Joe Thompson, has committed to play football at University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) starting in the 2016-2017 academic school year. “I made my decision on the night of March 21st from my hotel in Atlanta, GA. My Dad (Stone Bridge Head Coach Mickey Thompson) and I left spring practice in Charlotte and discussed my commitment decision on the way to a camp that we had already planned a couple months beforehand,” said Joe.
The most important factors that went into Thompson’s decision were education, the UNCC football coaching staff, university atmosphere, location, and quality of football.
Thompson says the coaching staff was most important and that enabled him to make his decision with great confidence. According to Coach Thompson, “The decision was a no-brainer for Joe and I’m really excited for him because UNCC is a great fit and UNCC is really excited to have him.” Joe’s commitment to UNCC is fulfilling one my dreams of watching my kids play college football,” said Coach Thompson. You can tell the elder Thompson is very pleased with Joe’s commitment, because he has a proud grin from ear- to-ear.
UNCC was established in 1965 as North Carolina’s urban research university. Its faculty, staff and students engage in research, service and scholarship that directly contribute to the economic health, social and cultural well-being of its citizens in the state. With over 27,200 students in 2014 and more than 3,000 faculty members, UNCC comprises seven professional colleges and currently offers 21 doctoral programs, 63 master’s degree programs and 90 bachelor’s degrees. The university has more than 100,000 alumni and adds approximately 4,500 new alumni each year. UNCC has three campuses: Charlotte Research Institute Campus, Center City Campus, and the main campus, located in University City, NC. The main campus sits on 1,000 wooded acres with approximately 85 buildings nearly eight miles from uptown Charlotte. Thompson says, “The university’s location couldn’t be more perfect. The school is right in the heart of an incredible city that has so much to offer and it’s about a seven-hour drive from Ashburn, which really is not a problem. Charlotte has everything it needs to be a great football team and program in the near future and I’m excited to be a part of the school’s history.”
Thompson’s commitment to become a UNC 49er felt great. His recruiting experience wasn’t nearly as stressful for him as it often is for others. “I think that is due to the fact that I committed to the first school that gave me an offer early in the process and because I felt it was such a perfect fit,” said Thompson. Thompson will play for Head Coach Brad Lambert in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Division. “I’ve known Coach Lambert for a long time and I know he’s a really good man,” said Thompson. Thompson said with a smile, “The entire staff is very energetic and I’m excited to work with all of them, especially my QB position coach and Offensive Coordinator Jeff Mullen. Every time that I’ve made the trip down, I sense the tight family-like atmosphere.” UNCC Football started in 2013 with a first game win against Campbell University 52-7 and ended up the season with a 5-6 record. In 2014, the 49ers had the same record. However, Coach Lambert, is making great strides with the team and their record is expected to improve each year.
Coach Lambert will have the 49ers ready for their season opener on September 5th against Georgia State in Atlanta, GA. Thompson expects to red-shirt in his first year at UNC Charlotte. This will provide him with opportunity to really work hard and learn the 49er system, as well as learn and grow as a college quarterback. From an academic perspective, advertising currently captures Thompson’s interest; however that may change as he settles and prepares for his freshman year at college.
Thompson has been playing on the gridiron for 12 years since the age of six. He says, “My fondest memories in high school are still ahead of me, because I’d like to make a State title run and follow in my brothers’ footsteps. Looking back, I’d have to say a highlight would be my touchdown pass to Chance Frye in the fourth quarter of this past year’s Battle of the Burn against Broad Run. My most vivid memory is when my good friend and current Stone Bridge offensive lineman, Andrew Vastardis, hit me so hard in one of our youth league games that I lost sight for a while. He had me scared to run the ball for a couple games after that.” However, there’s no stopping Thompson now!
“I am thankful for so many people who have helped me get to where I am, and I hope I don’t leave anyone out. Most importantly there’s my family: my Mom (Kathy) and Dad (Mickey), sister Amy, and older twin brothers Zach and Patrick who I’ve learned so much from growing up. I’m thankful for my closer friends who have always supported me (shout out to Brendan Coale, Dylan Beck, and JLOFF), my teammates, the whole staff at Stone Bridge who have always been like a family to me, my trainer Dave Mikel and staff at Performance Edge, my off-season QB coach, Paul Troth, Josiah Ryabinov at Airrosti, Stone Bridge physical therapist, Dr. Marc Meadows, National Sports Medicine Institute (NMSI), team doctor, Scott Nagell, team orthopedists, David and Tim Johnson, and Stone Bridge certified athletic trainer, Mark Wagner. I am grateful for all who have always helped me perform and stay healthy, working through injuries over the years.
In giving advice to others in pursuing their dreams, Thompson says, “Separate yourself from bad influences and surround yourself with people who have the same aspirations as you do. Put in the work that is going to better yourself athletically every day. This can be as simple as taking the time to make a healthy meal and eat it when you don’t have the energy. Work hard consistently even when you aren’t feeling like it at all, and don’t feel the need to tell everyone you know about it. Work hard in the classroom and develop relationships with anyone that you can. Most importantly, if you have the chance to play at the next level, go to a school where you’re really truly wanted by people that you can trust.”
Please join me in congratulating Joe on his commitment to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Go 49ers!
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