by Nick Christophers
"The first sport I really enjoyed playing was soccer I never once thought football was going to become my career." Chris Onorato a native Long Islander and Hofstra University alumni has made his mark in the world of the AFL (Arena Football League). Chris played soccer growing up yet during his junior year a Sachem North High School he tried out for the Varsity team and was cut. Even though he was disappointed it did not stop him from entering another sport. He went on to try out for the volleyball team. While he was attempting that the school's football coach approached him with an offer.
"He came to me and asked if I would be interested in playing for the team. I really did not want to be a kicker. I thought I can try out as a tight end. But the coach convinced me to try and kick for him. I did and that is how it all started."
Hence he went on to play football as the first string kicker for the next two years. While he attended Hofstra University a few scouts came out to see him due to his growing effectiveness as a kicker. In his senior year he went 15 for 19 in field goal attempts and completed a record breaking 52- yd. attempt. Besides those accomplishments he went 48 for 48 on point after attempts.
While he practiced at Hofstra he came in contact with the New York Jets and even hoped to play for his favorite team. He did receive a full scholarship at Hofstra University. Yet as he played through college he was not sure if this was going to be his career. He did manage a few impressive signs of professionalism. He held the school record for the most PAT's in a game (eight in a game, 48 in season and 145 in his career).
"Not until I came across a friend who told me to follow through with it that I was good enough. He mentioned a kicker trainer in Virginia who specialized in honing a kicker's ability I was curious and ended up moving to Virginia to train with this coach."
Chris at the time was a first grade teacher and was far removed from the sports world. But he was compelled to travel to southwest Virginia to hone his skills. The coach Doug Blevins is well known in the NFL. He is the only handicap kicking coach in the history of the game. He is the official coach to the Miami Dolphins. Doug was dully impressed with Chris' skills. In turn he began his training which only benefited him in many ways.
At the training camp he rooms with other kicker's who are working towards the same goals. In his rookie year he played for the Corpus Christi Sharks where he kicked seventeen field goals and converted on 70 of 77 PAT's. He also led the team with 121 points and kicked a season long 51 yard field against the Laredo Lobos.
He was soon signed to the Dragons on December 19, 2007. This is his first season for the Dragons. "It has been real exciting playing with the Dragons. The coaching staff and players are great."
The game is strongly centered on the fans and kid friendly. "The fans are electrifying and bring a whole new spectrum to the sport. In the NFL it's not as personable like the AFL. It's a fast paced game it is a lot more offense minded. The uprights in the AFL are higher than the AFL. It is actually harder."
Yet Chris does have hopes of one day playing for the pros. He would like to maintain a presence on the Dragons yet to be apart of the NFL would be a big step in his career. Chris hopes that the New York fans keep their faith in the New York Dragons and support them in every way. Chris is just another native Long Islander making his mark in sports.