By BRIAN JENNINGS
Starting Blue Knight goalkeeper Evan Daddona suffered a broken hand during the second game of this past fall season. He didn’t support his team from the sidelines though. Cast and all, he continued to support them from the field as a starting outside right back for the majority of the season before returning to the net for the final games.
That’s the kind of grit and determination you need to play at the next level, and Daddona couldn’t be more ready.
“I’m going into this remembering why I’m here,” said Daddona. “When I’m struggling or thinking about why I committed to a Division I school, I want to go as far as possible. So, I’m always ready for a chalenege.”
Daddona signed a National Letter of Intent in the Southington High School library on Thursday, Feb. 15 to continue his soccer career with the University of Hartford and play for the Division I Hawks this upcoming fall. Daddona said that he was also considering Western New England in Springfield, Mass.
“With Hartford, I’ve known all the coaches for over three years now, especially the goalkeeper coach,” said Daddona. “He’s helped me out so much, and to know that I’m going to be with him for the next four years is just incredible.”
Daddona will join Head Coach Tom Poitras at the University of Hartford, who was also a standout for the Blue Knight soccer team and a member of the Southington Sports Hall of Fame.
“Evan is a great ambassador of the Southington High School and Southington Soccer Club programs,” said Poitras. “I am excited to see Southington producing Division I talent and hope it is the start of a pipeline to Southington soccer.”
The current starting goalkeeper for the Hawks is sophomore Jimmy Slayton of Wethersfield, and Yanosy said that Poitras knows Daddona well and has a pretty good blueprint to follow under Poitras.
From an academic standpoint, it fits well for him. From a soccer standpoint, Yanosy said that he knows Daddona wanted to challenge himself to see if he could play at the highest level.
“I think that was a big factor in his decision making, even if that meant maybe not right away,” said Yanosy. “He’s got all the tools to be successful. It’s just now up to him to go do it.”
In terms of playing time, Poitras said that Daddona will have the chance to compete for a spot in his first year and understands the level of their current goalkeeper situation as a great addition to their current crop of goalkeepers. “He is going to grow and develop a ton under our goalkeeper coach and with the competition of other top Division I players,” said Poitras. “But I do feel Evan will be up for the challenge.”
Poitras said that Daddona is an accomplished high school and club soccer player who has great ability and work ethic, which will serve him well in Division I soccer.
“Evan is a person of great character and is a great fit for our program,” said Poitras. “He comes from a great family, and I am really looking forward to watching his growth and development in our environment. I feel he will continue his high level play at our level.”
Besides his ability and work ethic, Daddona’s perseverance to play through the hand injury he suffered this past season also impressed Poitras.
“It shows the type of person and character he has,” said Poitras. “Even with his injury, he wanted to find a way to help his team be successful. That is the sign of a true leader.”
Daddona was named to the all-state team this past season and was a two-time All-CCC West Division player. In addition to these accolades, he was also invited to play in the 2017 Connecticut High School Coaches Association Senior Bowl.
“Evan was a tremendous player for us over the last four years and was vital in helping us secure our first conference championship since 2003,” said Southington coach Dave Yanosy. “What impresses me most about Evan is his work ethic and willingness to put the team first. I wish him continued success at the next level.”
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