Joe Valerio, a former Ridley HS and All American football player at the University of Penn got drafted to the NFL in the 2nd round as an offensive tackle. He was also known to occasionally go out for passes, particularly in the red zone and caught 4 TD passes from none other than Joe Montana in the 90s. Crusader coach Brian Person (who played with Joe at Penn) invited him to speak to our boys and tell them some stories about how we got to the top.
It was a very educational and emotionally motivating talk for our boys, coaches and parents. Joe talked about his early days playing football and how despite years of years of playing, didn't actually "start" until he was a sophmore in high school. He cited his passion for the game and work ethic for getting him there along with what he learned playing on the offensive line and how critical it was to his development both on an off the field. Joe then went on to talk about the importance of being part of a team and playing a role in the team's success, who our true role models are and the absolute importance of always being humble while recognizing what is most important in life. Joe provided these life lessons by telling a series of stories from his youth, through the actual, true story of how and why he got drafted so early and the network of friends he made along the way. Joe also talked about in detail, the importance of how football helps build young men and teaches them life lessons long after the game has ended and how he is forever grateful for it.
Needless to say all walked away very inspired. Thank you Joe and thank you Coach Brian for setting that up!