THOMASTON - Thomaston High School’s junior soccer standout Mergim Kutllovci was named to the CIAC’s All-State first team for the second consecutive year.
The attacking mid-fielder does a little bit of everything on the field, leading the Golden Bears in scoring over the past two seasons.
In his sophomore year he finished with 20 goals and last season he had 15; he has been on Thomaston’s varsity team since his freshman year.
Kutllovci’s favorite memory from his productive 2017 season was “scoring the only goal in the last game against Litchfield, because we needed to win that game to go to the state tournament.”
Considering how Thomaston’s season played out before that point there was a lot of pressure on the Golden Bears.
Thomaston finished the regular season 7-9, but started 2-8. They closed with a rush, winning five of their last six games, with the drama culminating in their final game.
The Bears squared off against a 10-4 Litchfield High School team. Mergim scored the only goal and lifted his team to the Class S state tournament.
Thomaston was seeded 21st out of 23 and played 12th-seeded Griswold, beating them 4-1.
Unfortunately the Bears were eliminated in the second round by eventual champion Morgan High School.
Outside of the school soccer season, Mergim plays for Ajax premier team in Bristol during the spring and winter seasons.
Ajax travels throughout the state and the tri-state area playing in tournaments, high-level competition, and college showcases.
After being asked when he started playing the game he calmly said with a fond smile, “all my life.”
Growing up in a European family he was around the sport at a young age. “I grew up with all my family playing soccer and I came to love it,” Kutllovci said.
Kutllovci added that his family and parents have been a large influence on his life. “My parents help motivate me and push me to do my best…in my head I just think I have to make them proud because they made a big sacrifice [for me].”
Kutllovci’s parents travelled here from Albania before he was born, escaping political unrest going on there at the time, “They make me want to push everyday, and make them proud.”
“My parents always told me you need to have school first as a priority and soccer comes second,” Mergim said.
He has aspirations to go to college to continue academically and possibly take his game to the next level.