Recent Norwin grad Harding changes commitment from Penn State to Pitt |

Recent Norwin grad Harding changes commitment from Penn State to Pitt

Bill Beckner Jr.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Norwin's Anthony Harding conducts cool down drills Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017 during boys' soccer practice at Norwin High School.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Norwin midfielder Anthony Harding (11) and Penn-Trafford midfielder Austin Mossellem battle for control of the ball on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016.

Just when it looked like he had found the perfect destination for his college soccer career, Anthony Harding had a change of heart.

The recent Norwin graduate announced earlier this week that he is switching schools and will now go to Pitt rather than Penn State.

“It came down to me wanting to be the best student-athlete I could be, and I felt like I would be better off at Pitt under (coach) Jay Vidovich, a well-known coach across the country and with a recruiting class that is ranked top-five in the country,” Harding said. “Pitt is a team that is on the come-up right now and is going to do big things this year.”

Harding, a star forward at Norwin whose final prep season was cut short by a foot injury, also is a notable Pittsburgh Riverhounds Academy alum.

Apparently Vidovich has made quite an impression in just two seasons on campus.

Pitt is looking to make a splash in local recruiting with on- and off-field performance. The Panthers picked up wins over Penn State and West Virginia last season, and also topped ranked teams in Virginia and Notre Dame.

“He got to showcase his talent in front of the Pitt coach this summer and impressed him,” Norwin coach Scott Schuchert said. “He made a gut choice and made the move. He loves the interest and commitment they show. They had a great season last year and are on the rise. This is a good fit for Anthony and Pitt.”

Vidovich, who has coached the Panthers for two seasons, picked up commitments from two U.S. Youth National Team players in Chandler Vaughn (Va.) and Johan Penaranda (N.Y.). Harding will be the ninth freshman brought in by Vidovich.

Initially, Harding had offers from Penn State, St. Francis (Pa.) and Syracuse. He had 12 goals and 15 assists as a junior.

Harding said the decision was not meant as a slight to Penn State.

“I have nothing against Penn State; I loved everyone there,” he said. “I felt like my decision was for myself and my future. … It’s closer to home so my family and friends will be with me every step of the way.”

Staying in state still shows loyalty, Harding said.

“I believe bringing in a local boy from the 412 is only going to help their reputation,” he said of Pitt. “I come in with a lot of passion and pride to rep my city.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

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