In 1966, the Savastra family settled in Middletown, Conn., arriving as immigrants from Italy. Because of Middletown’s large Italian community, it wasn’t long before Salvatore Savastra displayed his soccer skills with fellow athletes from the area.
As a founding member of the Middletown High School soccer club, Sal led the team in winning the Mid-State League Conference Championship in 1972. He was also an All-State pick as a senior, graduating in 1975.
When it was time to apply for college, Sal followed a friend and ended up at Eastern Connecticut State University. It turned out to not be the school for him, though he did take some general courses with a goal to eventually study business and accounting.
Another friend and Italian compatriot, Edward Zimmitti, was coaching at Middlesex Community College in the early 1970s, so Sal enrolled at MxCC to play organized soccer again in his hometown.
Sal recalls Marvin Hagel, who was first athletic director at MxCC and credited for establishing five varsity programs and bringing teams to the New England Regionals four times. For one of the smallest colleges in New England, MxCC was considered a sports powerhouse at the time.
During Sal’s first year at MxCC, the soccer team was fairly competitive, and in his second year, the team went to the regional finals. However, Sal won’t forget that they unfortunately lost the championship game versus Massasoit Community College (Brockton, Mass.) in overtime.
Though always a passionate soccer player, Sal says he was a quiet student and worked full-time while finally taking the courses he wanted at MxCC.
During college, Sal was uncertain about what kind of career to pursue, but he stated that Middlesex was a great place to be, and his sports opportunities definitely added to a very positive college experience.
“We also had dances every Thursday night—with live bands,” Sal fondly recollects. MxCC is also where he met his wife of 37 years, Betty.
After graduating from Middlesex in 1978, Sal transferred to Central Connecticut State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting. In 1981, he was hired as a temporary clerk for the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. After taking the state exams, he became a unit supervisor in operations. Thirty-two years later, in 2013, he officially retired. However, he still provides part-time accounting work for the Catholic Order of Nuns in Windsor.
Throughout his life, soccer remained a passion. Sal also played in Connecticut Soccer League with different teams, such as the Son’s of Italy, Giuseppe Garibaldi, and the New Haven Italians, to name a few. When he was over 50 years old, he played with the over 30 and 40 teams including the World Class Soccer FC, New Britain United, and the New Britain Stars.
Recently, Sal earned a spot in the Middletown Sports Hall of Fame as a 2018 inductee. Now a passionate soccer fan, he has attended the World Cup and enjoys working with his grandchildren and seeing them win championships as well.