Veronica Lage: “What was really cool is that training took place at the Cidade do Futebol, soccer city.” (Photo courtesy of ENYYSA)
Veronica Lage has fulfilled a dream as she recently trained on the same fields on which Cristiano Ronaldo has practiced.
She trained in Portugal with that country’s girls Under-16 national team. The Yorktown Heights, N.Y. resident originally registered in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association when she was five-years-old.
Lage, who turns 16 years old next month, is eligible to play for Portugal as her both parents are Portuguese. She holds dual citizenship.
“I was super excited to play in Portugal,“ she said. “First, they requested proof of citizenship and information about me. My father sent them my citizenship documentation, a tape and information about my club and high school soccer career. Although I can speak Portuguese, my dad says I’m only 75 percent proficient.”
In the East Hudson Youth Soccer League, Lage has played for Shrub Oak Girls United. A sophomore at Lakeland High School, she started 13 games in defense and midfield last fall, scored her first varsity goal and was honored as the most improvedpPlayer by the coaching staff.
Lage said that all her new teammates are very talented and highly skilled. They were also very welcoming, helping her if something got lost in translation. Ditto for the coaches, who sometimes explained what needed to be done to Lage in perfect English.
“What was really cool is that training took place at the Cidade do Futebol, soccer city,” she said. “This is where all Portuguese national teams train. This is where Ronaldo trains! All of the national team trophies are there, and the memorabilia. My dad loved taking pictures with all the trophies. On our last night, we stayed in the Pestana CR7 Hotel, and it’s a Cristiano-themed layout. The whole experience was all very cool!”