Giancola signs with Prostars Reserves
Soccer and hockey competed for Christian Giancola’s loyalties until a soccer milestone occurred in 2018.
“Around that time, Canada got to be one of the host countries for the (2026) World Cup and that started the dream,” the Grade 11 student at Denis Morris said.
The 16-year-old Thorold resident played hockey and soccer on a Thorold Cobras travel team coached by his father, Tino, up until that point and then decided to take his soccer training to the next level.
“It’s where my passion is. I have always enjoyed watching it and playing it and I was better at it so there were better opportunities.”
The six foot, 150-pound centre back had stops with Niagara Elite, the One Touch Soccer Academy in Hamilton and the Hamilton United Ontario Player Development League squad before recently signing with the U21 Prostars FC League 1 Reserves. That move, reunites Giancola with Reserves head coach Murad Sukru, the former head coach and technical director at One Touch.
“Because he gave me opportunities in the past, I felt he would be the best person to help me further my career,” Giancola said.
Sukru was delighted to hear from his former player.
“I known for Christian for quite some time, since he was 13 or 14 years old, and I had him at my academy for a time. He is a great player, a great kid, he is very determined and a very hard worker,” he said. “His work ethic is incredible.”
Sukru expects Giancola to fit in nicely with his new squad.
“He is a natural centre back and he has great leadership skills. He reads the game well, he’s smart, he knows his position and his game awareness is excellent. He is an overall great leader and a great athlete.”
Before signing with the team, Giancola watched the team practice before Ontario went into lockdown.
“The first time I watched it, I thought the intensity was really good and I was immediately interested,” he said. “I reached out to him (Sukru), I went and did a training session with him, I performed well and they offered me a spot. My dad, myself and my agent decided it would be the best spot for me.”
He is looking forward to training with the team as soon as possible.
“Because it is an older team, I am hoping to get some experience playing to prepare me for playing college or university,” Giancola said. “It is also an opportunity to showcase my talent to schools because at the end of the day that is my goal with soccer; a scholarship somewhere.”
That goal aligns perfectly with what Prostars FC is able to offer.
“It’s a great opportunity for young players like Christian to be seen and recognized,” Sukru said. “Games and training sessions and team stats are being recorded so we can create a profile for him to use in whatever career he chooses to go towards when he is done high school, whether it is a scholarship pathway or if he wants to pursue a career overseas.”
Sukru feels Prostars is the perfect place for Giancola to improve his game.
“He has to keep training every single day because that is the only way to get to the next level.”
Giancola has a number of goals in mind for his time with Prostars.
“I want to develop physically and mentally, get quicker at the game by playing with older players and showcase what I have to various schools, Canadian and American.”
He is also planning on having fun.
“I have always liked meeting new people and new teammates and I am excited to play with the older boys, They have a lot of experience and I can’t wait to play alongside them.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team is not practising or playing yet but Giancola will soon be able to tale advantage of the club’s online training sessions.
In the meantime, he is trying to keep his skills and fitness level up.
“Over quarantine, my dad and I and a couple of my buddies built a home gym in our garage and I have been doing an hour and a half of weights every day,” he said. “I am also doing various drills with the ball, dribbling, juggling and keeping my touch on point.”
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