Long Island’s leading goal scorer for last two seasons to join Adelphi University team
Although he always had his heart set on playing Division I soccer, and despite offers from Division I schools like Stony Brook University, Long Island’s leading goal scorer for the last two seasons, Comsewogue’s own James Thristino, has decided to take his talents to the Division II field at Adelphi University.
“I was choosing between four colleges across the Island, but when I visited the other campuses, it just didn’t click,” Thristino said. “I love the campus and I was able to get out on the field and play with the soccer team, and I felt comfortable. The coach told me he wanted me playing as soon as I get there and wanted me to make an impact. Other places took the time and we spoke, but no one was as direct as he was.”
Thristino, a forward, first started kicking around a soccer ball when he was 3 years old, and after playing club soccer for the Terryville Santos, he moved on to play for the Middle Country United’s Intense Soccer Academy travel team.
Dan Costello, Comsewogue’s varsity boys’ soccer coach, knew right from the start that Thristino was a talented and dedicated soccer player, which is why he pulled him up to the varsity level in ninth grade.
“James is a coach’s player,” Costello said. “He’s a great young man. He’s respectful, into his studies, responsible and very talented, so you don’t have to worry about James. He’s a great motivator for his other teammates, too, so for me as a coach, if I could have 11 Jameses, that’s a dream team.”
Thristino said he had a difficult time
adjusting to the varsity level at first, but eventually the league MVP and All-
Conference, All-County, All-Region and All-State selection found his way.
“Freshman year was a little hard for me — I was a little guy out on the pitch and wasn’t trusted by anyone in the beginning. But as the years progressed, I was able to play some good soccer,” he said. “I could remember, in ninth grade, Costello took me in and I played a lot. I got hurt one game and he carried me off the field like I was a little kid. He was like another dad to me.”
While the coach always felt he could count on his player, Thristino also thought he could count on Costello to help him excel in the sport.
“He pushed me,” Thristino said. “He knew what I was made of; he told me I could do anything I put my mind to — that I could break records or win a state title, bring the team through the playoffs and to counties.”
He captained the Warriors to the 2014 League V title, after going undefeated in the conference at 9-0-1, and earned a trip to the Suffolk County finals, where the team fell, 1-0, to East Hampton.
Thristino was Long Island’s leading scorer for the last two seasons, with 27 goals and eight assists in 2013 and 41 goals and four assists in 2014. He finished his high school career ranked third all-time in Suffolk County, with 78 goals, and he contributed 19 assists.
He also played three years of varsity basketball, two years of varsity golf and a year of varsity football.
“He pretty much always trained at a high level,” Thristino’s father, Peter, said. “He’s a dedicated player. He’s always there for his team — high school or travel — and I think that’s one of his most important traits. He never gives up. He could be losing 4-0 and it doesn’t matter. He plays the same way from start to finish.”
With a ton of accolades to his name, James Thristino will take his high school coach’s mantra with him onto his next athletic venture.
“Costello always said that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard, so even if you’re not the best and you work hard, you’ll be able to do whatever you want to do,” he said. “I feel like I can make a lot more of myself after winning awards like I have, and I feel like I can continue to push myself to go further. It makes me strive for more, and I want more all the time.”
Thristino, who received offers from Stony Brook, Hofstra University and Marist College before settling on Adelphi, said he hopes to continue his success at the next level.
“It would be great to go in and start as a freshman and do some damage,” he said. “I’ve formed so many friendships, learned so much, played some good soccer and I hope to continue that at Adelphi.”
Adelphi men’s soccer head coach Carlo Acquista said Thristino is a great investment, and he’s hoping for continued success for his new addition.
“To get any local player with ability, who has a history of doing very well, is huge for us,” he said. “The team was able to meet and practice with him, and he came in and did a very good job. We’re extremely excited that he chose to play here. He’s got a history of scoring goals and we’re hoping that history repeats itself at Adelphi.”