Three of the DiMartino sisters (front row from the left): Vicki, Christina and Gina, who were inducted into the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame)
With little or no soccer news available to the public, FrontRowSoccer.com has decided to run some of its memorable feature stories and some of editor Michael Lewis’ favorite columns and features over the past 16 years. This is a feature about the DiMartino sisters of Massapequa Park, N.Y. that was posted in BigAppleSoccer.com on Dec. 18, 2009.
By Michael Lewis
They could very well be the leading soccer family on Long Island, if not the state or the country.
The DiMartino family of Massapequa Park, N.Y. boast not one, not two, not three, but four talented sisters who have excelled at the beautiful game.
Not surprisingly, they played for the Massapequa Soccer Club, are graduates of Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association ODP and have performed for U.S. national teams, whether it is for the youth team or for the full side.
In chronological order, let’s meet the DiMartino foursome:
* Christina, 24, is the oldest sister. She is a midfielder with the Philadelphia Independence (Women’s Professional Soccer) after enjoying a standout career at UCLA.
* Gina, 22, also plays for the Independence as a midfielder after a starring career at Boston College.
* Vicki, 19, is an All-American forward at Boston College.
* And Rosie, 15, a scoring star at Massapequa High School.
“All the kids are amazing,” said Independence coach Paul Riley, who has coached the sisters whether it has been with the Albertson Soccer Club, Albertson Fury or Long Island Fury.
“It’s an unbelievable family,” Riley added.
Dan DiMartino, a New York city fireman, is quite proud of his daughters’ accomplishments.
“It’s very exciting,” he said. “We are very fortunate. I tell them to keep working hard and try to be the best you can be. That’s all we ask.”
And, they have been.
Dan DiMartino and his wife did not expect this success to happen.
“Being around so long, you think they’re good, but until you go from Long Island to the State to the Region and see we are in the mix with everybody,” he said. “I try to keep it real. They screw up, You tell them they screwed up. If they did good, they did good. A lot of people try to sugar coat their kids. I think they’re doing them a disservice. It comes down to basic parenting.”
Needless to say, the DiMartinos are proud of their daughters.
“We’re just proud of all of their achievements, on the soccer field and off,” Dan said. “All academically sound students. Just good kids. I’m just proud of them to say they are my kids. Soccer is all good, and this and that but the basic skills of life, decision making, So far so good.”
The DiMartinos have learned not to play favorites.
“I think it works to our advantage,” Dan said. “You can’t always be there. You’ve got to rely on your own self to suck it up and be strong and make it. I rotate, One week with this, another week with the next one. you’ve got to slice the pie up evenly. son is the oldest, played basketball. you’ve got to cut the pie in five and just be fair.”
So far, so very, very good.
Because of his job commitments, Dan DiMartino has not been able to watch his daughters compete internationally.
“I would love to,” he said. “I’m with them in spirit. Before they start, I tell them, ‘Look up in the sky. I’m right there with them.’ ”
Because of their soccer commitments, whether it has been school, professional or National Team, the sisters don’t have very many opportunities to get together. There used to be two times during the year — during the summer and Christmas time, but with Gina and Tina playing professionally, summer has been taken out of the equation.
When they do get together, the girls don’t necessarily talk soccer.
“We really don’t talk about soccer when we’re together,” Christina DiMartino said. “It’s just nice to see each other and hang out. We like to do other things.”
During breaks, the sisters “will play small-sided [soccer] or kick the ball around, nothing too competitive. We’re happy to see each other.”
But they are competitive.
During one Christmas break, the family played card games. Vicki won a game of spades.
“The losers have to do the chores,” she said. “I won this game. But I usually don’t win, so I [was] out of chores for the day.”
Christina, also known as Tina or Crissy, is the oldest sister. She was asked to talk about her younger siblings.
“Vicki is the probably the biggest one of them all,” she said. “She is very powerful. She is more of a striker. She is a goal scorer. She gets a hold of the ball and keeps the players off. She’s a natural lefty. She has a rocket of a left shot. Her strengthens are more holding players off, dribbling at them.
“Gina — She is a really smart soccer player. She reads the game really well. She distributes the ball. She has great vision. She takes players on and she can also find the back of the net. She can score a lot of goals.
“Rosie — She still has a lot of growing to do. She’s kind of like us. she’s very skillful. She has great vision and she understands the game. From what I hear from people, she is on the right track.”
For Christina, Riley was asked for his assessment.
“What a talent,” he said. “I think she will be on the full national team. She’s smaller, but look at half of the Brazilian team at the last [Women’s] World Cup. They were tiny. She’s talented, unbelievably good on the ball. very smooth. Can spread the ball around the place. . . . She causes a lot of problems. She can score goals, beat you on the dribble. She can shoot. She’s got everything. I think she’s a fantastic player.”
Tomorrow: profiles of the sisters
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