Longmeadow boy uses soccer to acclimate to new home

Longmeadow boy uses soccer to acclimate to new home
Published: Sep. 17, 2022 at 12:39 AM EDT
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LONGMEADOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Moving can be stressful for anyone and it can be especially stressful for a nine-year-old, who left his friends and moved to other side of the country.

“He left his friends, his school, his community. I knew the one consistent factor he did have was his love and passion for soccer,” said Kari Salvador, mother of Ethan Sangelo.

At the age of nine, Sangelo and his four siblings moved from Seattle, WA to Longmeadow. He began playing soccer to get acclimated to his new home.

“It helps you develop even more friends and you are just accepted and stuff. You are not the new kid anymore,” Sangelo said.

Now, he plays for several teams including club, travel, and the Longmeadow High School team. He told Western Mass News he is not sure how he would have adjusted without the sport.

“I would have had to really put myself out there, but with the soccer team, you show them your skills and people begin to like you,” Sangelo explained.

“He was able to make friends, get a sense of community, and grow,” Salvador noted.

Longmeadow High School varsity soccer coach John Pantuosco told us Ethan has surrounded himself with a great group.

“His group of friends are all very competitive, great kids, and extremely coachable,” Pantuosco said.

Sangelo said soccer has taught him life lessons, such as the importance of teamwork.

“You could have the best game of your life and still lose. You have to depend on one another. That’s why you push each other because everyone gets better as a unit. We win more, we feel better about ourselves, and relationships build off of that,” Sangelo explained.

About seven years ago, Sangelo was the new kid. Today, he is a successful student athlete who gives back to his community by volunteer reffing for youth soccer.

“My hope is with him and his teaching and his passion that other kids who may be facing challenges like he did can say ‘Hey, I can get through this challenge using soccer as a mechanism,” Salvador said.

Sangelo said he is forever grateful for the role the sport has played in his life.

“I had to make new friends, but I developed new friends through soccer,” Sangelo noted.

Pantuosco said the team went to states last year, but didn’t take home the trophy. Both Sangelo and Pantuosco said they are looking forward to a winning season this fall.