The legacy of Fondi


Photo Credit: Samuel Anthony

By Owen Krepps, Contributor

The backbone of the Robert Morris University men’s soccer team, goaltender Winter Fondi is having yet another great season. The 5’ 10” redshirt senior out of Leetsdale PA, is continuing to climb up the record books in statistics for RMU men’s soccer.

This season Fondi owns a 4-6-1 record in games started, a .754 save percentage and 1.42 goals against average throughout eleven games. Fondi has made 49 saves this season and has tallied four shutouts, giving him 10 so far in his collegiate soccer career. Over his time here at RMU, Fondi has managed to make 234 saves so far placing him fifth all time and has started 44 games placing him fourth all time. But Fondi doesn’t seem to care about any of this as he made it clear that he is a team player and wants the team to succeed.

“I guess it’s nice, but as long as we get to the conference tournament this year that’s all I really care about,” Fondi explained.

A redshirt senior and the only player remaining from his class, Fondi has seen many changes in the men’s soccer program throughout his time here. When asked about how the team has changed over the course of his career Fondi said the following.

“Oh, it’s completely different than it was my freshman year, back then we had Neco Brett running our team, and now we have to play better as a team as we don’t have individuals like him anymore so we have to make it more of a team effort to win.”

Not only has the team changed but Fondi himself has as well. He barely played his freshman year only playing in two games and is now the undisputed starter. Fondi claims that over time he has matured and grown as a player, feeling more comfortable each and every day.

“In high school I was one of the better players on my team so I was pretty confident and expected to do well no matter what, but in college I didn’t even practice my freshman year at all, I was sick during pre-season and our very first game I got thrown in unexpectedly so I was scared out of my mind. Now I feel like I am more mature. I’m more confident with myself and I don’t get nervous before games like I used to. I just go do what I’ve been doing for the past couple of years.”

The only other people on the team that have been around as long as Fondi are the coaches, in particular, Bill Denniston. Obviously, as a goalie, Fondi learns much of his positional skills from assistant and goalkeeping coach Brandon Regan, but Fondi has enjoyed his time with HC Denniston

“He is constantly coaching you and will talk to you throughout the game about your play whether it is good or bad. I’ve made some mistakes in my career and some good plays as well but regardless of what it is, he is always there for you. He loves telling stories, you get to learn about all the teams he has coached over the years and he helps you get through the good times and the bad and makes you want to play for him and work hard every day to get better.”

Getting better is exactly what this team has been doing as of late, with two back to back wins against good teams. Fondi posted another shutout in a Sunday’s home game vs. St. Francis Brooklyn where the team won 1-0 and only let in one goal two weeks ago in the team’s 3-1 win against Sacred Heart.

“We didn’t start the season off how we wanted to but it has been good to fight back and get a couple of wins. We have been playing well as a team and our young guys who really have not played together much are improving. Now that we have nine teams in the conference I want us to progress and successfully make the conference tournament.”

Upon his departure from RMU, Fondi has big expectations for players that will fill the void that the six seniors on the team will leave behind. Fondi said that the junior class will have to step up, as their class is a big size meaning many of them will potentially start.

“I expect a lot of things from the entire junior class, they have a lot of decent young people and losing six players with big roles on the team will make them have to step up more. Both twins will need to do a lot next year, not that they aren’t doing a lot this year.”

The men’s soccer team plays again next Sunday at 3:00 pm against Fairleigh Dickinson on the road. There they will look for their third straight win and attempt to get one step closer to the NEC Tournament. But perhaps the biggest challenge that Fondi will have is something that he plans on doing after college.

“Pay off all my loans and help my parents.”