‘His engine never stops’: Tozzi delays Indian Springs University to play football for Birmingham Legion FC

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Nathan Tozzi just helped Indian Springs win back-to-back state football championships for the first time in school history. He scored the only goal in Indian Springs’ 1-0 win over Russellville in the 2022 AHSAA Class 4A-5A Boys Championship game, above

By Rubin E. Grant

Nathan Tozzi simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity of his young life.

So rather than go to college in the fall, the freshly graduated senior soccer player from Indian Springs will play for USL Championship League Birmingham Legion FC.

Tozzi was already part of the Birmingham Legion FC Academy squad, but as an elite player he will play with the Legion FC first team so he can be exposed to a professional environment and continue his development.

Tozzi said Legion FC chairman and chief executive Jay Heaps saw him play for the club team and offered him a developmental contract with the Legion.

“I’m very excited,” Tozzi said. “I’ve been coming to the Legion since it started. There are no guarantees and I hope to have the chance to play in some matches, but I will do whatever they ask of me, whether it’s helping the community or just training with them.

Tozzi’s father, Indian Springs coach Rik Tozzi, said the deal would not affect Nathan Tozzi’s college eligibility.

“He will be a member of the professional team, but he will definitely go to university in the fall of 2023,” said Rik Tozzi. “I’m really excited that he’s playing for the Legion. He couldn’t be surrounded by two better people than Jay Heaps and Tommy Soehn, who are so character and community driven, which is really important to me.

Soehn is the Legion’s head coach and technical director.

“Nate will be in a place where he can practice his craft and become a better player,” added Rik Tozzi, who played professionally in England.

Lead Indian Springs to Victory

Nathan Tozzi just helped Indian Springs win back-to-back state football championships for the first time in school history. He scored the only goal in Indian Springs’ 1-0 win over Russellville in the 2022 AHSAA Class 4A-5A Men’s Championship game last month as Indian Springs finished with a 21-2-5 record.

In the semifinals, he scored a goal in regulation and another in a shootout as Indian Springs eliminated Montgomery Academy 3-2 (4-3 in a shootout).

“It’s crazy to think we’ve won back-to-back state championships,” Nathan Tozzi said. “At the start of the year, we not only wanted to get back to the last four, but we wanted to win a second championship in a row, and we managed to do that.”

Nathan Tozzi, a midfielder, finished the season with 38 goals and 20 assists. He had 75 goals and 52 assists for his career.

“It’s a physical specimen, about 6ft 3¼,” said Rik Tozzi. “His engine never stops every time he is on the pitch and in the game. He was the hardest working player in the team. He matured as a team leader and he was great with the ball and excellent off the ball. I couldn’t be more proud of him.

Nathan Tozzi was one of three Indian Springs players who were selected to the 2022 Alabama High School Football Coaches Super All-State First Team. The others were forward Jackson Nabors and guard Sims Tosh .

Three players from Class 6A state champion Mountain Brook were also selected for the team, goaltender Reed Harradine and midfielders Jack Heaps and Joe Armstrong. Homewood defender Landgren Fox and Briarwood midfielder Leib Matthias were also voted into the first team.

Nabors (Davidson) and Tosh (Oglethorpe) are both heading to college to play football, but Nathan Tozzi is happy to wait another year for his college opportunity. His older brother Jim Tozzi plays football in Sewanee.

“Finishing high school and immediately starting training with the Legion is amazing,” said Nathan Tozzi. “I think training with professional players and learning from them will put me in a better position to play at a better school.”

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