By TOM EVANS
Hour Staff Writer
NORWALK — Erick Romero, a standout for the Norwalk High School boys soccer team, announced Thursday that he will attend NCAA Division II University of Bridgeport on a full scholarship, according to Bears head coach Chris Laughton.
Laughton said Romero’s decision came down to the Purples Knights and Southern Connecticut, and the warm reception the three-year starter for the Bears received tipped the scales to Bridgeport.
“I actually went to a tryout, and I liked the team,” said Romero, who came to Norwalk in seventh grade from Honduras speaking only Spanish but worked his way into (Advanced Placement) English classes and onto the school’s Honor Roll. “Everyone welcomed me. It was like a family. Going to college is a bigger opportunity for me and my family. I’m the first person in my family to go to college.”
Laughton said Romero played primarily outside back his first two years as a starter, then moved to center-midfield his senior year, where he recorded five goals and eight assists for the 16-3-2 Bears that reached the Class LL finals before falling to FCIAC rival Trumbull 3-1.
“Erick’s a very versatile player, and he’s played almost every position on the field for us,” Laughton said. “This year he was out center-midfielder, but he’s probably a natural outside back. I thought he did a great job controlling the tempo of the game and slowing things down when we needed it.”
Romero said getting to this point in his life was simple, if not easy.
“It takes a lot of hard work, and I didn’t get help from anybody,” Romero said. “In my mind I knew I had to (get an education) to have a better life. When I made my decision (on Bridgeport) my mother was really happy and really proud of me.”
While Romero has not decided on a career path just yet, he calls criminal justice “an interest.” Romero wants to make sure Purple Knight head coach Brian Quinn takes an interest in what he offers on the pitch.
“Coach said he would play me at outside back, but he said I probably wouldn’t play a lot my freshman year,” Romero said. “I plan to practice a lot before then, so when he sees me, he will play me more.”
Laughton knows Romero will be successful, on and off the soccer field.
“Erick is a hard-working kid, and an overall role model for all kids,” Laughton said. “It’s good to see a success story like Erick’s. He overcame an adverse situation and now he’s going to college.”
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