Topalli made tough decision to resign as Wilton girls soccer coach

Renato Topalli let his bosses at Wilton High know last spring that this past fall would be his final one coaching the school’s girls soccer team.

He already had two other soccer jobs, one of them being an assistant women’s soccer coach at Post University. Topalli and his wife Ardita already had one child and another was on the way. Their daughter was born Sept. 13.

So to say those fall days were long for Topalli would not be an exaggeration.

“Pretty much in the morning I was helping out with the kids. I’d start working at 10 a.m., then get home by 8 or 9 p.m. and then I was still sending out emails. To be honest, they were 12-hour days,” Topalli said.

Topalli, who officially resigned in January after six seasons, certainly wasn't expecting Wilton to advance to the Class LL state championship game and earn a share of that championship with fellow FCIAC rival Staples.

“To be completely honest, I thought early on, it would be a rebuilding year. We lost eight starters,” Topalli said. “I knew we had a young team, but I knew they’d be hungry and I knew we had talent and athleticism. But we play in the FCIAC and we are one of the smallest LL schools.”

Topalli, 32, is also the general manager and tournament director for Connecticut Rush. His son Roman, is 20 months, and his daughter Alessia, is now 6 months. And his wife Ardita has started her own business.

“She allowed me to pursue my dreams with soccer and she was flexible with my work schedule, the hours and the weekends,” Topalli said. “Now I have to free up some time to allow her to pursue what she wants to pursue. It’s my turn to support her.”

Wilton went 8-1-6 during the regular season behind a strong defense, led by goalkeeper Erynn Floyd, a GameTimeCT all-state performer who will play at the University of Louisville next season. The Warriors advanced to the FCIAC final, losing to Staples 1-0.

Then as the No. 10 seed in Class LL, Wilton advanced through the bracket to the final, pulling off a pair of seeded upsets, then earning a scoreless tie with Staples. Topalli said he never mentioned his intention to leave to any of the players until January.

“I didn’t want to be a distraction. I wanted them to enjoy it,” Topalli said. “It (the co-state championship) made it tougher to leave. I wanted to continue to build on that success. The girls worked really hard. I was glad to be a part of it.”

Topalli, a Middlebury resident, said the team loses a handful of key players, but also returns several starters, a good nucleus to build upon.; @nhrJoeMorelli