WNY Athletics

Kwitchoff signs with URI

In times as uncertain as these, when you get a sure thing, you take it. 

That’s what Max Kwitchoff did when he received an offer to play Division I men’s soccer at the University of Rhode Island. Kwitchoff put pen to paper to finalize his commitment last week when he signed his National Letter of Intent.

“It’s a complete honor. I’m really excited to take on this new challenge,” said Kwitchoff. “I’m honestly shocked by this entire thing, that I’ve even had this opportunity to take my skills to the next level. It’s a privilege.”

A senior at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute  in Buffalo, Kwitchoff has excelled both in varsity soccer for St. Joe’s and for the Empire United Development Academy, for which he has played the last two years of high school and three of the last four years.

After his freshman year at Empire United, Kwitchoff played his sophomore year for St. Joe’s and led the team to a record of 18-3 as the team’s Rookie of the Year. He was selected First Team All-Catholic and First Team All-WNY in his only season at  St. Joe’s, impressing many across the state and beyond – including his coach – before returning to Empire United.

“He is one of the most talented players that I have ever had the chance to work with. His soccer IQ is incredible,” said St. Joe’s coach Mike Thoin. “The ball moves where it should, when it should. His work ethic is second to none. … [Max] is very equipped to be successful both on and off the field. Rhode Island is getting a great one!”

At the beginning of his junior year, Kwitchoff began to receive interest from college coaches. When the pandemic hit, Kwitchoff says he realized he “might not play for a while,” so he worked on building the relationships he had with the coaches he had been in contact with prior to the pandemic stoppage. This past summer – after his junior year – Kwitchoff came to a verbal agreement with Rhode Island and announced his commitment. 

A driving force behind Kwitchoff’s decision was his academic future. A future Marine Biology major, Kwitchoff cited the well-renowned programs in that field at URI as a key reason for his commitment.

“At St. Joe’s they are always telling us to go out and make an impact on the world. I really feel like majoring in a field like Marine Biology, I can have a major impact on not only my society and myself, but on the world as a whole. That’s something I feel really passionate about and I feel like I can make a big difference,” Kwitchoff said.

Kwitchoff also wanted to choose a school within a day’s trip from home where his family could visit, but not necessarily too close to home. “My parents can still watch me play and come to the games, so it’s obviously not too far, but it’s not too close to home where it would feel just like high school again,” he said of URI.

While he received interest from multiple schools, Rhode Island was Kwitchoff’s first Division I offer. Just receiving a Division I offer at this time is an achievement that Kwitchoff did not take lightly. 

“We weren’t sure what the future would even hold,” said Kwitchoff. “… I remember right when COVID hit when my coach called me and said the whole season was canceled … it was heartbreaking. But I knew I had to stick with what I knew and keep working, keep grinding, to keep in contact with those coaches. That’s what really got me a chance to receive an offer.”

Kwitchoff will join a successful URI Rams program which has featured back-to-back trips to the NCAA tournament as Atlantic-10 conference champions under head coach Gareth Elliott. The Atlantic-10 fall sports season of 2020 was postponed to the spring of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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