For sisters Cate and Emma Soccodato, a promise is a promise.
And although the pact they made with their father 10 years ago may have seemed impossible at the time, determination and a little luck made it a reality.
Ten years ago, the Soccodato sisters wanted nothing more than to play for Italy in the Women’s Lacrosse World Cup. Big fans of the sport, the Soccodatos wanted to represent their roots and make their family proud. But there was a problem: Italy didn’t have a team.
“Ever since we were younger, we were always taught to be proud of our heritage and what our ancestors had done for our family,” said Emma, a junior at Kellenberg. “We wanted to grow the game of lacrosse in Italy.”
Two years ago, when Italy first became a national team for the European Championships, Cate participated. Then, in July, the sisters helped Italy finish 11th out of 25 teams in the nation’s first World Cup appearance.
“I just think it was super special because since lacrosse was not popular at all, and women’s sports aren’t popular at all in Italy, it’s just awesome to spread the sport to the country,” said Cate, a junior at Marquette who plays attack. “We were not supposed to place that high, since we’re such a new program. It was so surreal.”
The World Cup, which took place at Surrey Sports Park in England, was eye-opening for the Soccodatos. They were two of three Americans on the Italian roster, but because of their teammates’ English and their own grasp of some Italian, there weren’t any issues communicating on or off the field.
Emma said there was “no language barrier,” and that her teammates taught them some words they use on the field.
Emma, the youngest player in the tournament at 16, had nine goals and six assists. Cate had 12 goals and five assists. They combined for six goals and two assists in an 18-17 upset over Haudenosaunee in the 11th place game, with Emma scoring the game-tying goal and Cate netting the game-winner.
That performance was exciting for the family, but Cate and Emma said they’ll both always remember the reactions of their dad when they told him about making the team.
“He was a little shocked, but he was so proud of us,” Cate said. “When he told our grandparents, tears immediately filled their eyes. They were so grateful and extremely proud.”
“His reaction is something I’ll never forget,” Emma said. “He just looked so proud. Just seeing that made me realize all my hard work paid off.”
When the 2021 World Cup comes, Cate said she’s not sure if she’ll participate. But Emma, who plans to be playing at Marquette at that point, said she “definitely” wants to play again.
Said Emma: “It was such an awesome feeling knowing my dream from when I was little came true.”