Emmanuel Almonte, a senior and football quarterback at English High School (EHS) at 144 McBride St., signed a Letter of Intent to play football on an athletic scholarship at the University of Maine (UMaine) earlier this month.
Almonte told the Gazette last week that he was accepted into UMaine before his football career became known, a fact that impressed the UMaine coaches.
When EHS football coach Tom Lamb called UMaine, one of their coaches came to see Almonte play. That led to him landing a football scholarship, which, combined with the rest of his financial aid package, means that Almonte will attend UMaine for free.
“It feels great. It’s a great accomplishment. It was always my dream to play as high a level as I could,” he said. “And it’s not just about me. The city folks can take some pride in it too.”
Almonte said that, usually, National Signing Day—the day where high school athletes commit to colleges that will provide them with athletic scholarships—events are a big deal, “but since I go to English,” he got very little pomp or circumstance.
Almonte started playing football when he was “10 or 11,” he said, even though he hated it at first.
“I hated running! I needed to get in shape. I started enjoying it when it got a little easier,” he said.
He starts at UMaine in the fall.