Model, Mentor, Soccer Player
The friendship between 6-foot, 3-inch Franco Lo Presti, former captain and center fullback on the Rams’ soccer team, and ten-year-old Will St. Germaine, a boy with a developmental disability, began in October 2010 when the squad ran a clinic for the Chariho Youth Soccer Club.
“I saw this little boy practicing by himself, so I went over and we began talking and kicking the ball,” said Lo Presti, who hails from Toronto, Canada. “Will is like a little brother to me. He has taught me so much, to appreciate the good moments in life and to appreciate people.”
Lo Presti extended himself in other ways too. “He sings and plays guitar and regularly entertained us on road trips,” said soccer coach John O’Connor.
And when Vanessa Villegas, a member of the Ramettes, approached him about modeling, Lo Presti took her up on it. “I was walking to class one day when Vanessa stopped me and asked, ‘Are you a model?’ I laughed when she suggested a test shoot, but she encouraged me because she models in New York and knows the industry.”
Since then, Lo Presti has been heading to New York most weekends for photo sessions. “I signed a contract with Click Model Management, Inc., out of New York,” he said. “I had a recent casting with French designer Givenchy for the fashion shows in Paris in June. I haven’t heard yet whether I will be modeling.”
He is also trying to build a career in professional soccer. “My goal is to play professionally in Europe, but I won’t rule out playing for a team in Major League Soccer or other professional leagues in North America.”
Lo Presti has been thinking about his experiences at URI, including a writing internship in the Department of Communications & Marketing: “I had some great professors like Alan Hawkridge, Richardson Smith, and Regina Bell. I made so many great friends on the soccer team—I’m going to miss them.”
—Dave Lavallee ’79, M.P.A. ’87