Soccer: Chris Lancia credits support system
After Trumbull High’s Chris Lancia signed his National Letter of Intent to play soccer at St. John’s University, the Eagle’s stalwart produced a laundry list of persons he would like to thank for his journey.
“My parents, Maurizio and Donna, were the first one to sign me up for something, to drive me somewhere, sometimes to places I didn’t know about,” said Lancia, who helped Trumbull earn a share of the FCIAC title and advance to the Class LL quarterfinal round with a 16-0-5 record. “I had a lot of energy I think. My mom signed me up for AYSO, I was so excited to play. When I started counting the hours, when I think I was thirteen, I started taking it seriously.
“Once I realized how much time I was putting it, I knew I couldn’t waste the opportunity and decided to go as far as I could with it. Looking back. you don’t realize how many years go by, how it all adds up and how much time they’ve sacrificed for you. They continued to push me and that is why I am thankful.”
Lancia scored nine goals and had 12 assists for the Eagles.
“This season was probably the best experience I’ve had,” Lancia said. “To have Coach Sebbe (Sebastian Gangemi) and Coach Sil (Silverio Vitiello) by our side while doing it was even better. We love those coaches — the best coaches you can find — it was a great ride, a great season all around.
“My first two years of high school I played Academy soccer. But after sophomore year I talked to Coach Sil about switching and he said they’d love to have me on the team. All my close friends were there and I fit in right away. High school soccer is such a great experience, people get excited for your games, it’s all people talk about it in the halls.”
Lancia began playing soccer at a young age.
“When I was five or six, Coach Neal (Floyd) came in as Trumbull United head coach,” Lancia said. “That’s when I met the majority of the guys on the (high school) team. When we were around ten or eleven, we switched over to Premier and Coach Neal was still our coach. He’s been my head coach my whole life. I trust him. He does everything for me.”
Making scholastic success most enjoyable for Lancia was the manner in which it was accomplished.
“Coach Sebbe was always saying this about us, that we didn’t have a star,” Lancia said. “That’s why we made it so far, it’s the reason we kept winning. Teams would try to take one guy out and boom, you have another guy there. If I was taken away, you had Jason Weinstein, scoring fifteen goals, Connor Jorge on the left, Thang Dao in the middle, or Matt Restrepo.”
Lancia and the game grew together.
“When I was freshman, sophomore, I was very small,” he said. “I realized that to play against better players, I had to be a better passer, a better dribbler. I knew I wasn’t going to be more physical than them, so I had to be more technical. I had weaknesses so I had to make my strengths to be as good as possible. Now that I’m more grown (5-foot-10, 155 pounds), I have a better understanding of the overall game.”
Lancia is looking forward to attending St. John’s, which is also a good scholastic fit.
“I’m going to study finance,” he said. “It’s a good major for me. They have a great business school.
St. John’s, led by head coach Dr. Dave Masur, finished this past season 6-7-4 overall and 2-5-2 in the Big East. The Red Storm graduated four seniors.
“They have it in mind for me to play an attacking position. But however I can help the team is what I’m going to do there,” he said. “You have to be open to options. That’s what I’ve been working on.
“I attended an ID Clinic at St. John’s and thought I did pretty well. Around summertime we started talking seriously about me coming in, committing. I really liked the school, I know I had other options, but that was my number one school from the beginning. I visited at the end of September and committed a week afterward.”
That allowed Lancia to concentrate on the task at hand.
“The first three years of high school were hard, not knowing where you are going,” the 5-10, 155-pound Lancia said. “Balancing academics with soccer...The minute I signed it was a little pressure off off my shoulders and I could enjoy the ride.”
Lancia has found a place outside the soccer pitch.
“Me and my friends recently started our own clothing brand called Focus Outfitter,” Lancia said. “It’s been a really good experience. A couple of friends took marketing, and we wanted to put our own ideas to work. It’s working well so far. We have accounts on Instagram (focus outfitters) and the web site (focus outfitters.com). It’s pretty cool. Kids in school are wearing it and we’re getting orders from a bunch of colleges. We all have parts in the company.”