Dom Dong's Football Dream Comes True | EDUBOSTON

Dom Dong's Football Dream Comes True

Monday, Feb 04, 2019


If you asked Dom Dong during his first few weeks in the United States whether he would ever play American Football, you’d likely hear the answer “no!” Dom is one of many international students whose path to belonging in their US schools and in their US homes was murky at first. He is also among the powerful examples we are lucky to share how sports can transform the inner and outer world of a teenage boy living in a new country.

Dom joined the Crusader football team at Trinity Catholic High School after much encouragement from his Program Manager, Rose Nanista. Pictured here, Rose and Dom show striking differences in size and stature—but not in heart. They have grown to express mutual respect and appreciation for one another, something Dom’s coach, Robert (Bobby) Robustelli, can attest to personally in his dealings with Dom on and off the field.


Bobby Robustelli is the Assistant Director of Athletics at Trinity Catholic and has worked with Dom directly, especially during the Fall 2018 season.


Of all the interactions with Dom, Robustelli said, “Dom was a great kid to have on the team. He was well liked by everyone.” Robustelli notes that Dom, who struggled to make friends in his first forays into American life, is now a well-adjusted, well-supported student. And this, he feels, goes beyond Crusader Football.


“Dom’s teammates really enjoyed playing with him,” Robustelli said. “All the coaches and football staff really wish him the best when he graduates.”

That sentiment comes with a hint of sadness as Trinity Catholic ushers its senior class through their last five months together. Rose Nanista as well, identifies the bittersweet effect of watching and getting to participate in a student’s transformation.


“He really started in a much different place than he is today. It’s been a whirlwind at times, but I couldn’t be prouder,” Nanista shared.

The school and his teammates made this banner (pictured above) for Dom during the big Thanksgiving/Homecoming Game. For the next few months, Dom will get to wear that Catholic 78 jersey. And then, like all of Trinity Catholic’s seniors, they will shed their school garments for caps and gowns. American football, baseball, hockey and basketball appear to be the beacons of light which facilitate many students’ escape from a dark and bumpy road of making friends and finding one’s place at a new school, thousands of miles from home.

We, too, wish Dom the best and feel grateful to have been part of his journey.  

by Kris Capezio