Where Are They Now? - Townie QB Brian Amaral
In the Reporter's continuing series of checking in on former Townies, we profile EPHS 1998 graduate and all-state quarterback Brian Amaral. Although the term 'former Townie' is a misnomer as once a Townie always a Townie is more accurate. In the late 90's East Providence football remained a dominant football team. East Providence High has won 15 football state titles, tied for the most in Rhode Island. Hendricken has come on strong lately and now has 13 state titles. The EP-Hendricken series was intense during Brian Amaral's years at EP. The Townies and Hawks played each other 4 times for the state championship from 1995 through 2006. East Providence won 3 of the 4 games claiming the title. Two of those Townie wins were engineered by QB Brian Amaral. Ep won the 1997 super bowl easily over the Hawks by a 26-0 score. EP also won the 1999 super bowl in a 12-6 thrilling overtime win. In the ’97 game, Amaral was dominant. He was the best quarterback in Rhode Island and had a lot of help with players like Justin Rocha and John Carnevale. After Amaral had graduated, EP beat the Hawks once more, in 2006 in a 35-13 super bowl win. The ’99 SuperBowl victory was led by another Townie great quarterback, Joe Wahl. Wahl often comes back to help coach Townie quarterbacks. Wahl has also joined fellow Townie John Carnevale with many volunteer efforts to enhance East Providence school and recreational facilities. “Wahl has done a lot for the youth and residents of EP,” said former Townie head coach Sandy Gorham.
East Providence grad John Carnevale became a successful engineer and entrepreneur and has organized classmates to give back much to the community he loves. Carnevale was a member of those Amaral super bowl teams. "I can't begin to state how much I realize East Providence football helped us all to build a solid foundation in our lives as young men. The times we had on that field, I can truly say were some of the best of our lives. There are so many unbelievable memories, great times to look back on, and countless thoughts that make you realize how lucky we were to wear the much respected RED and WHITE!," said Carnevale. "The best thing about wearing those uniforms was the pride we had for that school, that team, and one another," added the former Townie wide receiver.
Amaral recalls the game against Portsmouth in '97 when the Townies defeated a tough Patriots team to remain undefeated. "Down 7-6 with 56 seconds left in the game we executed a fade route (and long pass) to Justin Rocha for a touchdown and win over Portsmouth! We went on to take the Super Bowl from the Hawks," he boasts.
Football has never left the psyche of Brian Amaral. He continued to excel on the field but many miles away from his beloved Pierce Stadium. Amaral was recently in East Providence for a visit. He currently resides in Lives in Helsingør, Denmark. The Reporter spent some time with the Townie football icon and he certainly had lots to say. Here is some of what Amaral had to say:
"After High School, I went to Springfield College in Mass. I Played football with Shawn Andrade and Andre Nembhard (former EP team mates) but I didn't really feel comfortable with the college and the whole season," said Amaral. It seems that the school recruited him as a QB but their intentions were to use Amaral as a defensive back. Amaral had turned down offers at other schools to play defense and he still wanted to be a QB. "The team coaches mislead me and it really rubbed me the wrong way. I left Springfield after my first year."
For the next 2 years he attended CCRI and pondered his next move. Amaral still had a lot of football left to play. In 2000 he started playing semi pro football for a team from Bellingham Massachusetts called the Bellingham Minutemen. The team was owned by former New England Patriot Steve Grogan and coached by former Pats Ronnie Lippett and Mosi Tatupu. "In 2001 I found out about a semi pro team from Providence called the Rhode Island Prowlers. I played QB for the Prowlers three seasons from 2001 to 2003." Amaral was good. In 2001 he was voted as the Eastern Football League, Offensive Rookie of the Year. During the 2002 and 2003 seasons he also acted as the team's general manager. "My main duties were promotions, advertising, sponsorships, and recruiting. During the 3 years with the Prowlers I have played with many former Townies that graduated before and after my class," he added.
While playing football, Amaral took a job as a Satellite Technician for Dish Network. With football in his blood, he and friend Neil Smith started a team in 2004 based in East Providence called the Ocean State Vipers. "This team was made up of about 70% former Townies," he said. "We had to do a lot of travelling that first year looking for teams to play. We went to New York, Maryland, Massachusetts and Canada. It was a grind trying to manage everything and we stopped playing in 2010.
Amaral had formed a business back in 2004 called Briden Technologies, as a sub contractor with Direct TV. The business did well but it was difficult to run the business and play football. "We had to play football on a part-time basis." The business partnership ended and Amaral started up his own company called Amaral Satellite Services. As the new business venture moved along nicely, the QB still missed the game. But in the early spring of 2008 something changed his life drastically. Former Townie star Steve Silva signed to play professional football. "Steve signed for a team in Austria called the Corinthian Black Lions. His former Austrian team asked him if he could refer a RB to take his place. Steve mentioned former Townie Greg Jones. Greg and I stayed in touch and I contacted as many European teams as I could find. I offered that I would fly myself out for a tryout and I just wanted a chance to show what I could do," recalls Amaral.
After hearing from the former Townie QB and watching his films, Amaral was contacted and eventually signed on to play QB for the Saarland Hurricanes, in western Germany. Things happened at a whirlwind pace. "I arrived with the team after their first game, and only had a brief practice before the 2nd game. I got blindsided in the 2nd half of the game and tore some ligaments in my left shoulder. I played the entire season with the injury as I didn't have time to let it heal," Amaral said. Without time to heal, he kept re-injuring the shoulder game after game.
"There wasn't an option of sitting and healing because if I couldn't play, I would be released and sent home. So I took injections before games to deal with the pain - I was not going home," he said pointedly. Later during the season Townie Jon Flamond joined the team to play offensive lineman. The season ended and Amaral returned to RI to work a while. He would look again to play in Europe.
For the 2009 season he signed with a team from Copenhagen, Denmark named the Hvidore Stars as QB. "Little did I know at that time the significance that decision would be for the rest of my life. A couple weeks before our first game, I met an amazing Danish girl named Jane and her wonderful daughter Alma. It did not take long before I fell in love with both of them. We reached the semi final game, but fell short of advancing to the Championship. During that season I was also selected as an assistant coach for the Danish national football team and we traveled to Austria in the summer to compete in the European Championships, earning a silver medal."
With the season over, Amaral extended his stay for 6 weeks so he could spend time with his girlfriend and her daughter. After a short trip to RI he continued to look for pro football experiences. Amaral next signed with the Lazio Marines of Italy. But the football carousel would continue as contract problems would cause him to sign next with a Finland team and then with the Magdeburg Virgin Guards from Germany as QB. "Again after the season I went back to the US to work for a couple months but this time my 2 Danish girls came over for a month to spend Christmas with me. By the 2011 season, I had not been in the US for more than 2 months each year since 2008 and I had no choice but to shut down Amaral Satellite Services," he added.
Brian Amaral was reaching the end of his football playing days. "In 2016 I signed again with the Copenhagen Towers from Denmark. But early in the season I started to have issues with my neck and back causing my right arm and shoulder to go numb. I started to realize that it would not be worth playing 27 years of football to end up having a major injury that could leave me with life long lasting numbness or worse in my last season. At that point I finally decided to walk away halfway through the season," Amaral realized.
In December of 1999, Sports Illustrated (SI) listed the 50 greatest sports figures from each state. Their list for Rhode Island included Brian Amaral of EP. "Amaral led East Providence High to a 1997 state football title, running for 699 yards and 12 scores, passing for seven TDs and intercepting three passes," stated the SI article. Also included in that top 50 ranking was EP's Ron Wilson, two-time All-America at Providence College hockey who led nation with 87 points in1976-77; coached the Washington Capitals to '98 Stanley Cup finals. Wilson was of course an all-stater at EP and one of the nation's best high school hockey players as well as college. He had an impressive pro career as a player and coach. Wilson also coached the USA Olympic team.
Amaral lives in Helsingør Denmark today with his girlfriend Jane and daughter Alma. "My football playing is over and I am proud of my career," said Amaral. As a player from 2008-2012 he had a total of 12,124 yards (passing,rushing, receiving). He also amassed 131 touchdowns passing, rushing and receiving. His coaching record was 25-8.
"To this day I watch those Townies games that were taped back then for cable TV. I feel so much pride for what we accomplished and for the players and coaches I was able to share the memories with," said Amaral. "Some of the proudest moments in my life happened wearing a Townie Uniform."
From playing and coaching around Europe these past years I have realized exactly how lucky we were to have had coaches like Coach Gorham, Monteiro, String, Duvall in high school, junior high school. The EP Mohawks and coaches down at the youth level taught us about the game, developing skills, and installing a winning attitude. In Europe it's more laid back, 2 practices a week and most kids do not have the opportunity to play until the age 12-16. Still get chills thinking about the song, we are the boys from EP High...," reminisces Amaral. I would like to thank all those involved in making these amazing memories.