We are excited to announce the launch of a new feature, the Impact Labs Player Spotlight. Each month, Impact Labs will feature a student athlete who has demonstrated excellence both on and off the field. This month we are proud to highlight Matt Chiancone, a kicker for the Gilmour Academy Lancers of Gates Mills, Ohio.
How long have you been playing football? I started playing football sophomore year of high school. I was playing fall soccer and 2 weeks into the season went outside to practice with 2 seniors who were also kickers on the football team. We were just messing around and I hit a 35-yard field goal right when the football team was coming out for practice. The coach just happened to see it and said, “So I’ll see you at practice?”.
At first I thought he was kidding, but then I ended up joining the team and have loved football ever since. It was a bit of a learning curve at first because I was used to being on the field for an entire soccer game, and as a football kicker I have to be on the sidelines always ready to go.
What play have you been most proud of? This season we were in a game against Trinity and I hit a 50-yard field goal.
What else are you involved in outside of football? As I mentioned, I’m also a soccer player. I’ve played club soccer throughout my high school career and traveled around the country with my team, including the national championship.
I’m in Academic Challenge, which is a trivia type club at my school. I’m not very good, but it’s good to meet up with friends after school and have fun with it. A few of my soccer teammates are in the club too.
This year I joined my school’s robotics team. I’ve been in charge of getting all the finances together and raising money for the club in addition to helping out with the designing and building of the robot. So far we’ve been applying for grants, reaching out to alumni for donations, and reaching out to local companies for sponsorships.
What are your goals for college and beyond? Last year, I did an externship through my school at Oakwood Labs which is a pharmaceutical R&D company specialized in controlled drug delivery systems. I would go there twice a week after school to shadow in their lab and kept a journal of what happened in their lab throughout the week, which led up to a final presentation. The experience was really interesting to me and led me to want to study chemical engineering in college with a goal of working in pharmaceutical R&D.
Has football taught you any lessons that you plan to use in the future? Football has definitely taught me how to work hard. But more importantly it’s taught me how to balance the preparation you put in for practice and games with other responsibilities, as well as having a certain degree of fun with whatever you’re doing. You can’t be serious all the time, so it’s important to know when you need to get down to business and when you can joke around a little bit and have fun with your teammates.
From the Coach:Matt is an excellent example of what it means to be a student-athlete. He understands the meaning behind the grind in getting better and makes sure he puts in the effort when he’s out of the spotlight, in order to be able to deliver when we call his number. It’s phenomenal to see him recognize the priority that academics have to take, and only have that be amplified by his athletic participation.
Interested in celebrating the accomplishments of a player on your team? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to nominate a student athlete who has demonstrated excellence both on and off the field.