Recent Newington High School graduate Christian Amaral is taking his soccer talents to the next level.
“After a long recruitment process I’m super excited to announce that I will be continuing my athletic and academic career at AIC,” Amaral announced on Instagram on May 2. “I would like to thank God, my family, my teammates, all the coaches who have helped me along through this process, and coach Luke for giving me this opportunity. Time to get to work.”
Amaral is joining a Yellow Jackets program that has created a lot of buzz around the American International College (AIC) campus in Springfield, Mass.
AIC is led by head coach Luke Perry, who guided the program to their first ever NCAA tournament victory last fall, ousting Molloy University 4-0 in the opening round of the Division II tourney.
“I was looking at different schools at first and AIC wasn’t really in the picture, but then coach Luke reached out to me and he was very open with me. I went to campus and I really enjoyed it and they gave me an offer,” said Amaral, who was open to playing anywhere in the country when he started his college search.
After talking it over with his family, Amaral said he thought AIC was his best option because of his want to join a winning program and his opportunity to play early on.
Amaral is coming off his second straight all-state season in Newington, scoring a team-high 36 points for the Nor’easters, leading the team in both goals (11 goals) and assists (14).
Newington head coach Jeffrey Brunetti praised Amaral for his dedication to his craft.
"Christian was a special player because he worked hard to improve and become great. He was incredible due to his drive and tenacity," added Brunetti. "I loved just sitting back and watching him play because it was exciting every time he had the ball at his feet. He was just so creative and dangerous with the ball at his feet and we knew at any moment we could witness soccer genius.
Brunetti noted that Amaral made every player around him better, saying, "One of the unique characteristics with our program and something that we highlight for each of our seniors is the legacy that they leave for us. Christian has left his legacy of passion, dedication, talent, and sheer love for the game."
Newington defeated eventual-state champion Wethersfield (3-1) in the regular season finale to capture a conference championship in early November. It was the team’s first conference championship since 2002
Amaral, who had a pair of assists in the conference-clincher, reflected, “The atmosphere and our fans were awesome. It was a great team moment and a great moment for me to finally get that conference championship that we’ve been searching for.”
As a youth, Amaral’s parents had him try a variety of sports. He played both tennis and soccer throughout youth sports before eventually making soccer his fulltime passion.
Along with his four years at the high school, Amaral also played CFC (Connecticut Football Club) soccer since he was nine years old.
Now the sport has become a part of him.
“As long as I can remember I’ve had a ball at my feet. It has always been a big influence in my life and I’ve made a lot of decisions based on soccer,” said Amaral. “Soccer means everything to me.”
He said he will miss how supportive the school and the surrounding community is towards the athletes at NHS, but is stoked for the next challenge where he will study finance as he pursues his passion for four more years.
“I’m looking forward to improving my game against better players and continuing to win with a good program,” Amaral said.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin