In fall 2002, Mike Grieco went to little Johnson State College in Johnson, Vt., also known as the “Middle of Nowhere,” 30 miles from the Canadian border for a few reasons — Jay Peak, Smuggler’s Notch and Stowe.
OK, we’re joking, slightly. The small, liberal arts college offered the Andover native the opportunity to be at a small, tight-knit school that offered many outdoor activities, including skiing.
“It also wasn’t that far from home,” said Grieco. “Most of the student body enjoyed outdoor activities. And the fact it was 45 minutes from Jay Peak, Smugglers Notch and Stowe (ski areas) was ideal for me.”
More than a decade later, his outdoors sport of choice, we came to find out, was soccer after he was inducted into the JSC Sports Hall of Fame recently.
Ironically, the former Andover High star didn’t even go out for the team as a freshman despite being recruited to the school to play soccer.
“I sat out my first year because I had been playing soccer my whole life and needed a break,” said Grieco. “I quickly realized how much I missed it and played in my second year at school.”
Nobody was happier than SJC coach, Brian Buczek, who has since retired.
“I first watched Mike play in a tournament in western Massachusetts when he was in high school,” recalled Buczek. “I was looking at another player at the time. I remember it was late in the day and not many people were present. After the second half began it was evident that not only could Mike play but he could score goals. He had two that day.”
As Buczek expected, Grieco made his presence felt immediately. He scored three goals his first season and a school-record 13 goals in 20 games his second season.