Farmingdale Stars United goalkeeper Graziella DiDio admitted to some nerves before the 2017 Discovery Cup in Maryland over the Columbus Day weekend. But you never would have known that based on U16 team’s play on the soccer field .
Farmingdale posted a 3-0-1 record, allowing only one total goal to win the Discovery Cup Tournament championship, one of the premier tournaments on the east coast.
“Going into it, I think me and my entire team was very nervous about being in the tournament because we heard it was very good competition so we went in not expecting much of an outcome,” DiDio said. “But all of our hard work at practice really paid off and we were able to push through.”
The team won its first game, 1-0, played to a scoreless tie in its following game that day. After a 1-0 victory the next morning, the Farmingdale team won its final contest, 3-1, over the Baltimore Union SC Select team.
“I think it made everyone feel very important and special because we’re all there together and we’re all helping each other out” DiDio said. “But winning it together means a lot and I think it brought us even closer together than we were before.”
The team plays in the New York Premier League at the Division I level and practice bi-weekly throughout the year, led by manager Steve Ballas and coach and trainer Jaime Gonzales.
The full championship roster features Alyssa Accordino, Gianna Bakich, Nicole Ballas , Abigail Baskind, Nicole Celeste, Melanie Collins, Julia D’Alessandro, Gianna Del Gais, Graziella DiDio, Jessica Ford, Litzy Hernandez, Jaden Keener, Emily Kisilinsky, Noelle Messick, Zoey Quinn, Leah Sparacio, Shannon Turner, Laura Villatoro and Alexa Wing.
“I don’t think any of us was even expecting to go that far to make it to the finals,” DiDio said. “But we did and we got there and we achieved something really great.”