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Clinton resident Chris Rapuano played soccer at The Morgan School, as well as Mitchell College. This fall, Chris is serving as head coach of the boys’ soccer squad at East Haven High School on an interim basis. (Photo courtesy of Chris Rapuano )
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There is a new man at helm of the East Haven High School boys’ soccer team this fall. Clinton resident Chris Rapuano is serving as the Yellowjackets’ head coach on an interim basis while Paul Comesanas is on military leave.
Chris, 29, was an assistant coach for East Haven last year, when Ryan Harrold served as the team’s interim head coach. Chris brings a wealth of soccer knowledge to the Easties after having played at The Morgan School in Clinton, Mitchell College in New London, and also coaching at Morgan.
“I’ve always been involved with soccer since I was small. I’ve been playing my entire life, ended up coaching U-10 boys’ soccer and travel soccer, and wanted to broaden my coaching abilities, so I applied for the Morgan job and became a coach there for two years,” says Chris. “I want to be able to be a positive role model on and off the field for the boys and show them—well, teach them—how soccer is played at the college level and incorporate that into what we do at the high school.”
Chris was a striker when he played soccer. He appeared in 52 games at Mitchell College, recording seven goals and five assists during his four years with the program. Chris is now aiming to take what he learned during his playing days and apply it in East Haven.
“I was very strategic off of corner kicks and set piece plays. I was very alert and aware of where my opponents were. I’m not that tall, but I was very good at timing the ball in the air,” Chris says. “I like to adopt to a European style of play that involves technical passing and movement on and off the ball. I’m a firm believer of staying in shape and having a positive attitude. That is more than half the battle to being successful. I like a lot of communication on the field, and sportsmanship is a must in my book.”
East Haven Athletic Director Anthony Verderame loves the enthusiasm that Chris has displayed since Chris joined the program. Verderame is rooting for Chris to see success on the sidelines.
“Coach Rapuano has seamlessly stepped in as our interim head coach with the deployment of Coach Comesanas,” says Verderame. “Coach Rapuano has been working tirelessly to bring out new athletes to our program and ensure a smooth transition. His dedication, rapport, and commitment to our athletes is to be commended.”
After graduating from Morgan in 2007 and Mitchell College four years later, Chris started his high-school coaching career as an assistant with Morgan in 2015. Chris enjoyed coaching in his hometown and still works as the in-school suspension coordinator at Morgan. Chris was well-versed about life in the Shoreline Conference, but after the 2016 season, he decided that he wanted to see what else the local soccer circuit had to offer.
“I wanted to see how the Class L or Class LL schools played soccer and how it would differentiate from the style that I saw at Morgan and in the Shoreline Conference,” Chris says. “I wanted to try something new and broaden my ability to coach soccer and see what else was out there. I want to teach soccer to more athletes, share my knowledge, and my players at East Haven, hopefully, will learn and take away a lot of the technical things I taught them.”
In addition to coaching, Chris still plays competitive soccer in adult leagues in order to maintain his edge.
“It’s one of those things where you’ve played soccer your entire life, so it gives me that sharpness of the fundamentals, which I don’t plan on losing any time soon,” he says. “It definitely keeps me in shape and willing to continue to coach. We are all out there for the same reasons: to stay in shape, learn, and create good memories, while doing positive things on and off the field.”
Chris has been impressed with the support he’s received from the East Haven community. Chris says he’s happy to be holding his current role with the Yellowjackets.
“With East Haven, I really do adore my players, the other coaches, my staff, and the administration. Everyone is fantastic over there,” he says. “My players are very friendly, and we have a great connection on the field. I want to be there for my players at East Haven High School as a leader and teach them the proper way for them to be successful.”
Chris says that he’s ready to develop a foundation for the East Haven boys’ soccer program. He wants to help the Easties learn more about the fundamentals of the sport, while fostering a fun atmosphere on the field.
“We want to be able to do positive things on the soccer field, even if that means just connecting three or four passes. Not everything is scoring and winning. We want to come out and have a good time,” says Chris. “I want to be a close-knit team, have good sportsmanship, and teach the boys a level of soccer where they will find it easier to play higher-level opponents. I have passion and drive for the sport. It’s the biggest sport in the world. I love playing it and coaching it, and I plan on doing that for a very long time.”
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