Caiden Hettrick-Rivera, a senior at Portland High School, will stay in the state of Connecticut for the next phase of his soccer journey.
“Proud to announce my commitment to Eastern Connecticut State University to further continue my academic and athletic career,” Hettrick-Rivera announced via Instagram on Dec. 29.” I want to thank my family, friends, coaches, and teammates for supporting me along the way.”
Hettrick-Rivera earned All-State this fall for his work as an offensive stud and all-around midfielder. He was also named All-Shoreline Conference (SLC) for a third straight season, making the all-conference first-team in each of the last two seasons and making it as an honorable mention as a sophomore in 2019.
“I couldn’t be more excited for Caiden as he takes the next step in his already stellar playing career,” said Portland High boys’ soccer coach Michael Searson. “His work ethic, field vision, individual ability, and overall tenacity will instantly translate to the next level. His leadership and understanding of the importance of team culture will enable him to fit in and make a difference for Eastern. Looking forward to seeing him play college soccer for a great program.”
Hettrick-Rivera’s time at PHS is littered with marvelous moments on the soccer fields, but it’s the little things that he remembers the most.
“A lot of people’s favorite memories are hitting game-winners or game-winning saves, but to me my favorite memories were the bus rides home after we won an away game. The whole team is singing and dancing and feeling on top of the world. To me that meant the most because it showed that we were together as a team,” recalled the senior striker.
Off the field, he participated in indoor and outdoor track and field, as well as tennis at the high school. He was a part of Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), National Honors Society, and Class Act. He also participated in numerous sports clubs in an effort to expand his overall athletic skill.
Next fall, he’ll join a winning culture in Willimantic. The Warriors are led by veteran coach Greg DeVito, who has been coaching the program since 2007 and has won nearly 70% of his games during his tenure.
This past fall, the team shook off a slow start before winning five straight games to capture a Little East Conference championship with a 2-1 win over Western Connecticut State University in November. It was the program’s sixth conference title and first since 2013.
“I really loved the environment at Eastern. From the second I walked onto campus it really felt like a place that I could see myself being there for four years,” stated Hettrick-Rivera. “I loved what the school had to offer academically and I loved what the soccer program has become.”
The competitive and driven senior, who enjoys of process of going to the gym and seeing his progress in strength and conditioning, is itching for the next phase of his life, saying, “I think the part that excites me the most is how I am going to grow as a person, not only physically but as a person learning new social skills and meeting new people that could potentially be lifelong friends.”
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin