By Ray Hamill — It’s shaping up to be quite a month for Fortuna senior Antonio Garcinuno.
Next week, the Huskies standout will fly out to Florida as part of the Olympic Development Program national squad for his age group, the first time a player from the North Coast has ever made it that far within the prestigious program.
And that’s not all.
On Friday, he signed a letter of intent to play soccer at Stanislaus State after graduation this year after receiving a scholarship offer from the Warriors.
And it was thanks to the ODP that Garcinuno ended up on the Warriors’ radar, after he impressed one of their coaches at an ODP event in Colorado last summer.
“I played really well that week, and he liked how I played,” the Fortuna senior said. “I kept in touch and I was blessed to receive an offer.”
Garcinuno had an official visit in August and immediately fell in love with the school and the program.
“The campus blew me away,” he said. “It’s all grass fields, no turf, and the coaches’ philosophy of coaching super impressed me.”
Garcinuno, who would like to go pro some day, sees college as the next step in his development as a player, and believes Stanislaus will provide the perfect environment for that.
“(Head coach Morgan Cathey’s) philosophy is basically be a better version of yourself and basically it’s you versus you,” He said. “Everything he said sounded perfect for me to grow as a player.”
A switch in position also has helped that development over the past year.
After joining a new club team, Santa Rosa United, Garcinuno moved from center mid to the right wing, and the switch had an immediate impact on his game.
The move also paid dividends for the Huskies, who won an eighth consecutive league championship in the fall and made it to the North Coast Section championship game, thanks in large part to Garcinuno’s contributions.
“It’s a more natural position for me,” he said.
When he joins the Warriors in the summer, Garcinuno will compete for the starting job on the right wing and is expected to see substantial playing time as a freshman.
Before any of that, however, he’ll fly out to Florida for the ODP national camp, and he says that being a part of that program has been a fantastic experience.
“It was incredible,” he said of the Regional camp in November, from which he was selected to the 20-player national roster. “There were 80s kids from all four regions and I was playing against the top players in the country. There is for sure some crazy talent out there.”
The national camp will take place over four days and will include two days of practice and three games.
As for his time playing for the Huskies, Garcinuno will remember more than just the team’s incredible success, which included a pair of NCS titles.
And in particular, he says, he’ll remember one game this past season against their biggest rivals.
“I’ll definitely remember scoring four goals against Arcata this year,” he said.
It was a statement performance by Garcinuno and the Huskies, who had been pushed hard by the Tigers in their previous matchup, and the win all but solidified their march toward the league title.
But that’s not all Garcinuno will remember from his days as a Husky.
“(My teammates) played a massive role in supporting me,” he said, while describing the team as a family and saying that it was a special bond.
The Warriors, who play in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, finished 6-11-1 last season and are likely to play at Humboldt State this fall after hosting the Jacks in 2021.