Schools Sports

Hall’s Lucas Almeida Named National Player of the Year

Hall captain Lucas Almeida celebrates breaking the school record for goals in a career with his 95th. Conard vs. Hall boys soccer. Oct. 29, 2022. Photo credit: Paul Palmer (we-ha.com file photo)

Lucas Almeida, an All-American striker on West Hartford’s Hall High School boys soccer team, has earned the sport’s top honor.

Hall’s Lucas Almeida works between Newington defenders. Hall vs. Newington boys soccer. Oct. 11, 2022. Photo credit: Paul Palmer (we-ha.com file photo)

By Paul Palmer

Lucas Almeida has capped his high school soccer career by being named the United Soccer Coaches Association high school player of the year.

Almeida got the news from his long-time head coach Zeke Seguro at the Titans’ end of season banquet. “He waited ‘til the last announcement to say it,” said Almeida, who will be going to UConn in the fall. “I was kind of shocked as he didn’t tell me before. I looked over at my parents and they were shocked, too.”

It has been a career and a senior season filled with honors for the striker. Hall did not lose a game in regular time this season – losing only once in the Class LL Final to Greenwich on penalty kicks. During the season Almeida smashed the school’s long-standing career goal scoring mark with 105 – including 44 this season alone.

Lucas Almeida (left), Hall coach Zeke Seguro (center), and former Hall record-holder Yuri Fishman. Conard vs. Hall boys soccer. Oct. 29, 2022. Photo credit: Paul Palmer (we-ha.com file photo)

Almeida was also named an All-American for the second straight year, as well as Connecticut Soccer Coaches Association player of the year for the second time.

“He is definitely all in on soccer,” said Seguro, who found out about Almeida’s selection just a few hours before the banquet. “He’s worked on his own to perfect his game. I don’t know if I have ever seen anyone with his ability before.”

“It’s still sinking in,” Almeida said of the honor, which is awarded to the top high school soccer player in public and prep schools. “Everything happened so fast: the state final, All-American, and now this award. I’m just going to keep working to improve so when I get to UConn I am ready to go.”

Lucas Almeida of Hall looks for space around two Greenwich defenders. Hall vs. Greenwich Class LL soccer championship. Nov. 19, 2022. Photo credit: Paul Palmer (we-ha.com file photo)

With the Huskies, Almeida will get to play alongside the only other Connecticut high schooler to win the same USCA award. Scott Testori won the award in 2022 while playing at Daniel Hand High School. “I love this game so much. Some kids have a lot of talent but not the passion. I have a lot of passion towards soccer and I think if you have passion and want to get better you will get better,” Almeida said.

In addition to a two-time All-American, he is a three-time All-CCC player and was the MVP of the soccer Senior Bowl this year. He appreciates what his teammates have done for him along the way, and is also grateful to his parents, saying that they too have “put in the work” for him to achieve everything.

Almeida credits Seguro with helping him grow on and off the field. “The first time I had him as a coach I was 11 years old. I grew up with him and he’s been a big part of my development,” the player said of his coach. “I’ve grown as a person with him being my coach.”

Seguro said he’s just a small part of helping Almeida develop his game and himself. “I take great pride in knowing that I helped, by having a little something to do with it,” said the Hall head coach. “Most important to me is I believe he has developed into a mature individual. If I look at him now from four years ago he has grown up and matured in all aspects.”

Hall forward Lucas Almeida fights the Simsbury double team. Hall vs. Simsbury boys soccer, Class LL tournament round two. Nov. 9, 2022. Photo credit: Paul Palmer (we-ha.com file photo)

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