Player Spotlight: Celio Pompeu
Celio Pompeu (pronounced POM-pew) is a Brazilian midfielder who was signed to a pro contract with CITY2 after spending 3 seasons with Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Celio was a highly touted, two time All-American high school player (scored 41 goals and assisted 51 times in 3 years) and was offered contracts from European teams before choosing the college route instead. A leg injury kept Celio out of all but 3 games his Freshman year, but he rebounded the following season and by the end of 2021 he was named the Atlantic 10 Midfielder of the Year, leading the team in goals (4) and assists (7).
Born in Fortaleza, Brazil, Celio moved to the US at the age of 16 after being recruited by St. Benedict's Prep Academy in Newark, New Jersey. In 2018, Celio helped St. Benedict's win the National High School Championship. Celio was first recruited by UCLA after high school, but when UCLA's coach fell into a bit of controversy, Celio opted for VCU. In all, Celio scored 8 goals and had 7 assists in his 21 total games played for VCU. It was expected that Celio would be selected in the 2022 MLS draft, but to no avail. Luckily, CITY2 was there to snatch him up.
As the CITY2 season rolls on, I feel it's a safe bet that Celio will take up the left wing/midfield position. His speed, aggressive attack, and craftiness will fit in nicely with Lutz's style of play. And, if he ends up having a stellar season, we may just see him on the inaugural roster for St Louis CITY SC next year. Oh, and let's not forget he scored the very first goal in CITY2 history in their preseason match vs Memphis.
By Steve Rusnack