GHS senior Gianna Angelillo will play soccer at The University of Miami. Angelillo is pictured with her mom Elizabeth Angelillo, sister Savanah Angelillo, and father Edward Angelillo at college commitment signing day on Nov. 9.
Glastonbury High School’s Gianna Angelillo will be kicking it in The Sunshine State next fall.
Angelillo has committed to continue her athletic and academic journey at The University of Miami where she will play Division I soccer for the Hurricanes.
“I loved the coach and the program is great,” said Angelillo, who made her decision last February after visiting the vast campus in Coral Gables, Florida. “I also loved the environment. The weather is my favorite; I’ll be around palm trees all the time.”
For Angelillo, who grew up in Connecticut and moved to Glastonbury in the eighth grade, the challenge of playing at the highest level of collegiate athletics is what excites her the most.
The Hurricanes play in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), a Power Five conference which produced two of the four Final Four teams in the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Tournament this fall.
“I’m looking forward to it. That league is just so hard, but I’m really competitive and I love the challenge,” Angelillo said of playing in the ACC. “I know I can do it. I just have to work hard.”
Those that have coached her locally believe that she has the tools to succeed at the next level.
GHS girls’ soccer head coach Mark Landers said that Angelillo’s “mental toughness” and “competitive fire” will suit her well at her next destination.
“One thing that will separate her from some of the other girls coming in is her will to win and commitment to the team and program,” stated Landers. “She brings it on the practice field every day and she has all the technical skills.”
During her four years at GHS, Angelillo has crafted an impressive resume. She was a freshman on the 2019 state championship team and she said that initial high school season drove her desire to want more championships, calling winning a state title “surreal and amazing.”
Over the past two seasons, Angelillo has earned consecutive All-Central Connecticut Conference (CCC) honors and this past fall she was named to the Connecticut High School Coaches Association (CHSCA) Class LL All-State team.
When she wasn’t playing for GHS, she was sharpening her skills with the FC Stars, a highly-competitive club in Massachusetts. She joined the Stars as a freshman and would play with them all four years during the high school offseason.
She credited her coach and mentor with the Stars, Jason Dewhurst, with helping her get recruited by Miami. Angelillo called Dewhurst “an amazing coach.”
Dewhurst said Angelillo’s growth during her time with the club was tremendous, saying she has improved her game in all areas.
“Gianna is a player that makes things happen on the field. She is great as an attacking threat due to her technical efficiency, tactical awareness and athletic ability,” stated Dewhurst, who also credited Angelillo’s defensive effort. “She works very hard at her club training, but also works very hard outside of this to improve her game.”
Angelillo’s parent were instrumental in getting her rolling on the soccer field, introducing her to the game at the age of four by creating a team that she could play on.
She quickly learned the skills needed to play the game and her interest increased with each passing year. She said she now enjoys the process and embraces the grind, often coming to practice early or staying late to hone her skills.
“I just love [soccer] so much and being on the field is amazing. It is my getaway from all the distractions,” added Angelillo. “It’s my favorite thing out of the day. I love getting out of school and knowing I have practice.”
At Miami she will play under head coach Sarah Barnes, who is entering her sixth season heading the Hurricanes. Barnes played soccer at the University of Connecticut, where she was a captain and All-Big East honoree before graduating from Storrs in 1997.
Angelillo plans to study business at Miami as she tackles her next soccer challenge.
“I’m excited to go to the next chapter of my life. It feels like it’s a new beginning,” she said.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin