Sam Montalto

Sam Montalto

STONINGTON — For Stonington High's Sam Montalto, this boys soccer season could not have started much worse.

But it certainly could not have ended much better, either.

Sunday night, Bears coach Paul deCastro informed the senior striker that he had been named to the All-America team selected by the United Soccer Coaches.

Montalto was injured before the season started and missed the first three games, including a loss to Ledyard in Stonington's season opener. But the Bears responded with 21 straight victories, capped by a 3-1 victory over Ellington in the Class M title game. Montalto scored two goals in the win.

Montalto was named Class M All-State and All-New England, but the honors went even further with his recognition as an All-American.

"Obviously, it means a lot," Montalto said. "I went into the season injured and missed the first three games. And it took me three to five games to get to 100 percent. I knew if we got the job done as a team my award would come."

Montalto scored a school-record 36 goals this season despite missing the first three games. He tallied 33 as a sophomore in 2019 — when the Bears also won the state title — and finished with a career school-record 105.

Still, he had his doubts about being named an All-American this year.

"The coaches in the conference ranked the players, and they ranked [Ledyard's] Nick Washington above me," Montalto said. "I didn't think two ECC players would get it. It's nice to know I got it."

Washington also received the honor.

DeCastro, who resigned at the end of the season after 14 years at the helm, said Montalto's production merited the award.

"It's really special," he said. "My brother, Mark, is the only other high school All-American for Stonington. He had a great career and played at the Division I level [in college at the University of Vermont]. He scored 105 goals in his career and won two state titles. He was deserving of being an All-American."

Montalto will continue his soccer career at Providence College next season.

"It's been one heck of a journey. Obviously, the past four years have been incredible," Montalto said. "But the journey started before that when we were little kids playing with coach. It's nice to look back on that now."

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