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Martinelli returns to western Massachusetts, joins UMass soccer team

Date: 7/16/2014

AMHERST – East Longmeadow native Nick Martinelli’s goal of playing soccer at the Division I level has been reached.

Martinelli, a 2013 graduate of  Wilbraham & Monson Academy who was named All-State in 2012 and played last year at Skidmore College, will suit up for the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) men’s soccer team this season.

“I was looking to better myself in an environment where everyone cared as much as I did about soccer,” Martinelli, an outside right defender, said. “I’m getting good academics at UMass, and I’m also going to get the soccer. It’s been a dream of mine since I was little to play Division I soccer.”

Martinelli was accepted into six of the eight schools which he applied to as a senior at the academy, including Division I Boston University and Syracuse University. UMass, though, was always appealing, largely due to a WMA-UMass connection.

“I’m excited he will play for my former team,” WMA coach Gary Cook said. “In his time at the academy, Nick was as fine a play-making outside back as anyone I've coached. He was composed on the ball and tactically sharp. I look forward to bringing the guys to Amherst to see him play.”

“Mr. Cook and [UMass] Coach [Sam] Koch have a strong relationship,” Martinelli said. “I know how Mr. Cook is as a coach and they are pretty similar. Knowing they are both similar, that helped a lot in my decision.”

Martinelli has spent the majority of his summer training for the intense Division I schedule, which includes a preseason trip to California to play Santa Clara University and San Jose State University.

“I got my fitness packet a few months ago and I’ve been doing that constantly,” Martinelli explained. “My whole summer has consisted of training and getting stronger and trying to better my game for the fall.”

Martinelli will enter the Pre-Dentistry Program at UMass.