The 2019 season will always carry special memories for the members of the Trumbull’s boys soccer team, not just for the success the team had, but also how the memories of their former coach helped fuel that success.
The Eagles’ season was documented by team manager Anthony Surrusco. The documentary is titled Amo La Mia Famiglia: A 2019 Trumbull High Boys Soccer Documentary. It debuted on May 5 and can be found on YouTube.
Trumbull repeated as FCIAC tournament champions and also made a run to the Class LL state tournament semifinals.
“It’s the power of high school sports,” Surrusco said. “I feel like high school is still a really important part of kids’ lives, memories that were made, friends that were made. It was important to make the video because 50 years from now, the guys will be able to show their kids and grandkids. It’s something I will look back on when I’m older.”
There were plenty of goals, plenty of celebrations and plenty of emotion. A lot of that emotion has to do with the memory of former Trumbull coach Sebastian Gangemi. Sebe, as he is referred to often during the documentary, died of leukemia in May of 2019, just several months after leading the Eagles to the 2018 FCIAC crown. Gangemi was 64.
“I do think emotion does carry a lot of weight in sports. It’s not something you can quantify, but I think emotion went a long way (during the 2019 season),” said Silvio Vitiello, Gangemi’s longtime assistant before succeeding him as head coach. “(Gangemi) arranged it that he would go get treatment in the morning on game days (during the 2018 season) and then get to the field. I made it clear to them (the players) that the man was coming back from the hospital for the game. That’s how much it meant to him. It was the most courageous thing I’ve ever been a part of.”
The 62-minute documentary has been viewed over 2,000 times already, according to Surrusco. The English translation for Amo La Mia Famiglia is I Love My Family.
And it is a family that Surrusco does portray here. He shot plenty of the photos and video footage. He didn’t shoot the live footage of Gangemi — that was done by Jean Louis the season before Surrusco arrived — and he had help from some of the players putting together many of the goals scored.
Surrusco dedicated most of late April putting it all together. He said he spent 10-12 hours per day working on it during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One poignant scene during the documentary was a dedication to Gangemi last October.
“Before every game, (the players) would chant, ‘Sebe on 3.’ They mentioned him before every game. That played a part in the season,” Surrusco said.
Said Vitiello: “(Surrusco) captured the emotion of the season. The tribute was fitting. It was a storybook season. Not many documentaries end with a team losing in the semifinals of the state tournament.”
Trumbull finished 16-3-4, at one point winning nine straight games, including that second straight FCIAC championship.
Vitiello didn’t know about the documentary until a week before it was released.
“A colleague sent me a text message to get my Kleenex ready,” Vitiello said. “I needed that hour to myself (to watch the documentary).”
Surrusco is attending Sacred Heart University beginning next fall and plans to pursue a career in film.
“I think (the documentary) will show how much the program means to people and the role Sebe played in it,” Surrusco said.