Giancola commits to Stonehill College
Christian Giancola is ready to take the next step in his athletic and academic future.
The 17-year-old Thorold native has committed to Stonehill College where he will play soccer and major in finance.
The Grade 12 student at Denis Morris had several options — Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, D’Youville and Canisius College in Buffalo — but ultimately settled on Stonehill, a private Catholic college in Easton, Massachusetts.
Giancola said he received a brochure from the school last summer in the mail and was immediately curious.
“I hadn’t heard of the school before that. In the pamphlet there are a bunch of pictures of the school and I found it intriguing and pretty nice,” he said.
Giancola then reached out to men’s soccer coach Jim Reddish and a in-person tour of the campus and athletic facilities was arranged for early December.
“I ended up going there and participating in one of their camps and they liked what they saw,” Giancola said. “I was back in Massachusetts for another combine a week later and they ended up coming and watching me play and stayed in touch.”
An offer from Reddish followed and Giancola was more than happy to accept.
“I wanted to be in the Boston-Rhode Island area,” Giancola said. “I went to a prep school there for a week in the summer for a combine in Rhode Island and I absolutely loved it. That was the area where I wanted to be.”
Stonehill is located about 25 minutes out of downtown Boston.
Giancola feels seeing the school in person was essential in his decision.
“I wouldn’t be able to make that decision if I didn’t go,” he said. “I’m grateful and lucky enough to be a dual citizen so I was able to travel over there quite a bit during this period.
“That was a deal-breaker being able to go there. That would have been impossible to decide something like that without going there and seeing the atmosphere and meeting some of the people.”
Giancola, who is scheduled to go back to Stonehill in April to meet the other freshman in 22 class, is well aware of the challenges of moving seven hours away and to another country to attend school.
“Moving away is definitely nerve-wracking,” he said. “I’m lucky my sport is a fall sport so as soon as I get there I’ll be instantly distracted. I’ll have my sport to help me ease into moving away.
“I’m definitely excited and looking forward to it, but there are some things that are a little scary. I’m confident I will be able to cope and enjoy it. It’s going to be an excellent experience and I’m grateful I get this opportunity to further my academic and athletic journey in life.”
Giancola feels he will be given a fair shot to earn playing time at Stonehill.
“When I was there, coach gave all the prospects a speech on how he runs his program,” Giancola said. “He’s not like a lot of other schools who are seniority first, he’s more the best players plays and if you’re working your ass off and training, and if you’re showing respect and you’re professional, you’ll be the guy on the field and if you lose that the next guy up is going to take your spot.
“There’s a lot of opportunity there and based on what I’ve heard I’m going to have a good role with the squad.”
His experience at the combine last summer in Rhode Island opened Giacola’s eyes to the fact he could play at the next level. Stonehill plays in the Northeast-10 Conference, the largest NCAA Division II conference in the country.
“I became confident with the idea when I went to the combine in the summer. It was the first time I got to go to the States and experience what it’s like to play at the collegiate level. I thought I fit in and stood out at times so I was confident the right opportunity was going to come and I was going to jump on it.”
Giancola said he will miss his friends, but appreciates their support.
“They were understanding of the situation and didn’t try and hold me back,” he said. “They know everyone is going to go their own path and the end of the year and that’s a tough thing but you have to do what’s best for ourselves.”
Giancola, a six foot, 150-pound centre back, has a long and impressive soccer resume with stops with Niagara Elite, the One Touch Soccer Academy in Hamilton and the Hamilton United Ontario Player Development League squad before signing with the U21 Prostars FC League 1 Reserves last year. He plans to play for the Club Roma Wolves of League1 Ontario this summer.
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