We learned all that we needed to know about Chris after about 10 seconds at his parents’ house in Long Island. As we ran down the schedule for the day, his mom insisted on making her world famous grilled chicken pesto paninis for lunch and his dad shook our hands and made it clear that we were welcome to swim in the pool or stay for the evening’s big sporting event. That is, once we were finished with the task at hand. For most, this seems like parenting 101 but for us, it was a small insight into what makes Chris great.
A pair of professional educators, the Wingerts recounted their confusion when they got reports that Chris was disinterested in school, reluctant to go and eager to leave. They persisted and made sure to find outlets for their son’s electric energy. He was immediately comfortable on the soccer field and tennis court, excelling in the competition, disciplined by the rules and fascinated by the techniques of the greats. School got better, but it was sports that carried Chris through high school and earned him a full ride at St. John’s University, where he graduated early and earned the coveted Herman trophy in 2003, which is given to the best D1 collegiate soccer player each year. Chris recounts that his Mom took care of all the small stuff so he could focus on what was important to him, while his Dad was a voice of constant encouragement and advice, teaching him to love the game, his teammates and even the competition.
Chris went on to have a successful career in the MLS and is now retired, enjoying some family time, getting back into the gym and aiming to chase down a career in sports management. He gives the coveted 10/10 rating to a few things in life: his mom’s paninis, scoring goals and of course, pretty much any Led Zeppelin album. He’s open to playing on your men’s league soccer team but demands that you put him up top. “Defense is over now that I’m retired,” he says with a grin. Chris always points back to his parents' influence and the foresight they provided on pursuing a degree while preparing for a career as an athlete. He is proud of what he has accomplished and looks excitedly towards a bright future.