Caleb Tondora plays better than his years

Caleb Tondora brought all the skills needed to compete when he joined the Foran High boys soccer team in the fall of 2015.

He used his moxie and expertise learned on his way up to earn a starting berth on defense as a freshman for coach Rick DiStefano’s Lions.

One year later, the 6-1, 165-pound Tondora was selected to the 2016 Connecticut Soccer Coaches Association Class L All State team.

“I was very shocked, shocked and very excited,” Tondora said of his feelings when DiStefano told him of his being named. “It is a great honor.”

Tondora is a product of the Milford United Soccer Club.

“Milford United has been a big part of my life,” he said. “I started playing with Milford United when I was eight and then played Premier.”

Foran posted a 5-6-5 record to garner a spot in the Class L state tournament.

DiStefano credited Tondora with having much to do with the successful campaign.

“He plays and acts far more mature than a sophomore,” he said. “Caleb has the size, technical ability and tactical awareness of a player far older. He directs our defense and give us stability and shape. Caleb’s also good in the air in attack and defense, and is good with the ball at his feet and starting the transition to attack.”

Tondora relishes all the responsibilities that come with being a center back.

“It starts with communication from the keeper to the backs, and the backs to the midfielders,” He said. “Coach Rick has us build from the back, keep the ball to the feet and press the attack.”

Although accomplished, Tondora had his moments of doubt.

“I was definitely nervous joining varsity last year,” he said. “We had a great group of veterans on the team to help me. Plus, I had Cedrick Lingane (Foran’s CHSCA All-Stater) to toughen me up in practice. Marking him in practice got me ready for matches.”

The maturity DiStefano spoke of wasn’t lost on Tondora.

“Soccer is a sport where the result doesn’t always equal the effort,” he said. “As a freshman, I’d get down when we got behind on the scoreboard. I learned to focus on the next play. After giving up a tough goal, learn from it. After a tough loss, look to the future.

“You can possess the ball for eighty percent of a match and lose on a tough goal. You just have to fix it the next time.”