When Jonny Ferrarini began his high school soccer career at Hanover, he saw an opportunity to get on the field immediately by moving to goalkeeper.
He started to work with goalie coach Erik Eisenhut, a relationship that continues today, on fine-tuning his craft. Inexperience and doubt grew into passion and confidence.
At the conclusion of his Indian career, Ferrarini was a two-time captain and two-time Patriot League All-Star.
When no colleges came knocking to continue his playing career at the next level, Ferrarini made his own pitch to get on the pitch.
He created a highlight reel and sent it to local colleges. Emmanuel College was one of those that responded. He took a visit and a liking to the Boston-based school.
“I enjoyed the location of the school and saw it as an opportunity to fight for playing time right away,” he said.
Just like that, he was a Saint.
The college game was not a simple transition due to the advanced abilities players possessed.
“Physicality of the game,” Ferrarini said about the biggest difference. “In college, the players are bigger, faster and stronger. Everyone has been a top-level player for their high school or club team, so it took adjusting to get accustomed to my team.”
Still, he was able to do it. Emmanuel coach Dan Roberts took over in the spring before Ferrarini’s freshman season not having recruited him and viewing the program as a blank slate.
“Jonny was one of the first players to earn a starting spot based on his work rate,” Roberts recalled, “He still approaches every session with the same approach.”
Ferrarini was thrust into the net as a freshman with upperclassmen depending on his ability and leadership. The team went 8-9-2 with Ferranini staring every game and providing four shutouts.
Tactically, Roberts says he has always been a strong shot-stopper but in their time together, Ferrarini has come on as a distributor, transitioning defense into attack.
Still, asked for the team’s best accomplishment, Ferrarini pointed to how tight-knit the team has been in his tenure.
“Only a handful of teams that I have been on have been this close. I think having a close group translates to the field and making lifelong friends,” said Ferrarini.
His own proudest moment?
“Being named a team captain. It’s humbling knowing that my coaches and teammates believe I can represent the team and the school,” said Ferrarini.
He is modest about his career but ‘Jonny Cleansheets,’ a nickname Roberts tells of, has been a major factor in Saints soccer.
“Jonny led the nation in minutes played entering the postseason two years ago when we had the most overtime minutes in the country,” Roberts said.
For Emmanuel to be successful this year, Roberts wants Ferrarini keeping the team geared up and competitive through his leadership.
It has been a season with ups and downs so far. The Saints are 2-4 with Ferrarini going 2-2 in his appearances so far. He shut out Fitchburg State on Sept. 5 and Bridgewater State on Sept. 7 in consecutive games, a feat that earned him Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Goalkeeper of the Week. It’s early, but a 6-0 drubbing by Norwich has his put his statistics in tough shape. Still, he aims to respond with the goalkeeping the program needs.
His father, Roberts, Eisenhut, HHS coach Steve Rodday and a host of others helped Ferrarini reach this point. His favorite part of soccer is having his support system be able to see him play. The goal in his final season is to give back to them by winning all the while.
“We want to be at home for a GNAC playoff game,” Ferrarini says, “We will have to work hard during training and pull out results in conference play to achieve that goal. Since I’ve been here, we haven’t won a playoff game and as a team we are capable of winning one. It may be early in the season, but we have a chance to make Emmanuel college men’s soccer history this fall.”