Athlete of the Week: Luccia fills big-time role for Mutiny

lucciaIt wasn’t difficult for fans of the Myrtle Beach Mutiny to spot midfielder Brett Luccia. Not only did he make plays all over the place, but he was also the shortest player on the pitch.

“I’m 5-(foot)-5 on a good day, when I’ve got my cleats on, but I’ve never felt like it was something I had to overcome,” Luccia joked. “I’ve always been short for my age so I guess I grew up used to it …  but I never felt like I had to prove anything. I’ve just always tried to play hard and smart and it’s worked out well for me.”

Luccia’s larger-than-life presence played a big-time role for the Mutiny. With the pain of last Saturday’s 3-2 season-ending loss finally starting to fade, Luccia was finally able to look past the disappointing finish and reflect on what turned out to be an incredible run to the NPSL national quarterfinals.

“It really was pretty amazing,” said Luccia, who was named the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week. “Throughout the whole season you could feel it was a special team. I can’t speak for everyone but none of the guys had been a part of anything like this, at least I know I hadn’t, so that made it special.”

Not just on the field, where the Mutiny compiled a 12-2-1 record and a long list of franchise firsts – division title, playoff berth and playoff victory. But also off the pitch, where Luccia and his teammates came from diverse backgrounds and experiences to form a cohesive unit.

“To have a successful season like we did you have to have a lot of things go your way, but we had a lot of things go against us,” Luccia said. “We were missing four or five starters but others pushed through. That’s the thing that made our team so great was how tight we all were.

“When you come into a team like this, especially in the beginning, every player has an ego. They were the best on their teams, everyone was the man on their old team, but now you have to learn to play your role, and every single person bought into it. That’s a tribute to (coach Tom Morris). He did an unbelievable job.”

Luccia was just one of the unlikely players to find a starring role for the Mutiny. He was a star player in his native Charlotte (NC) and in college at UNC Pembroke before breaking the same foot twice and undergoing two surgeries and rehab stints. Following a successful senior year, the diminutive midfielder came up big for the Mutiny with a team-high 11 assists.

“I’m just really happy to have been a part of this team and the season we had,” Luccia said. “I don’t know what the future holds for me or the other guys, but this season was a great experience I’ll always remember.”

Photo courtesy of MB Mutiny

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