Christina DiMartino: “I try to do the right thing to show my sisters to do the right thing.”
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 Christina DiMartino of Massapequa Park, N.Y. that was posted in BigAppleSoccer.com on Dec. 18, 2009.
By Michael Lewis
One Women’s Professional Soccer game showed Christina DiMartino’s worth this season — the Philadelphia Independence’s 3-2 comeback victory over the Atlanta Beat on Aug. 15. The Independence rallied from a two-goal deficit to win as DiMartino struck for the first two goals.
After latching onto a deflected ball, DiMartino fired a bullet into the net in the 42nd minute. On the other side of halftime, DiMartino connected for the equalizer in the 60th minute. Philly defender Heather Mitts sent a pass to Amy Rodriguez at the top of the penalty area. Rodriguez tried a shot that deflected to DiMartino on the left and she buried an eight-yard shot past Atlanta goalkeeper Hope Solo in the 60th minute.
“Tina DiMartino had her best game of the season, she looked dangerous on almost every ball,” said Independence coach Paul Riley, who has coached her on the club level as well.
Also known as Christina or Crissy, DiMartino played on the UCLA teams that reached the Women’s College Cup — the Division I Final Four on two occasions.
The oldest of the sister, soccer wasn’t Tina’s first and only love when it came to sports.
“My parents got me in a bunch of sports when I was little,” she said. “I just kind of stuck with it. My parents put me in there to see if I would like it. I ended up enjoying soccer and I kept with it.”
Tina decided to pursue soccer fulltime in the ninth grade at Massapequa High School after playing basketball as well. Basketball is her father’s sport. She also competed for the Massapequa Soccer Club.
“I made the Under-16 national team,” she said. “So from there, it was a great honor I wanted to keep up with and hopefully get to the full team. I kind of stuck with it and put all my commitment toward soccer and be on the national team.”
As the oldest sister, Tina doesn’t see any pressure. She said that she leads by example.
“I try to do the right thing to show my sisters to do the right thing,” she said. “They look up to you so you have to be more cautious on what you do so they know what’s right and wrong. I don’t see much pressure. We’re so different and we accept each other for who we are. . .. If they need me, I’m there for them, try to me like a big sister. I think they’re great girls.”
The 5-2 DiMartino has played on four WPS teams in two seasons, although it certainly is not a reflection of her playing ability.
She was drafted by FC Gold Pride in the very first WPS draft in January 2009. She was traded to the Los Angeles Sol last January, but the team folded two weeks later. She went to Saint Louis Athletica, but that team closed up shop in mid-season and DiMartino was reunited with her former club coach, Paul Riley, on the expansion Philadelphia Independence.
Tina has played for 19 times and scored once the U.S. Under-19 national team and played another nine times with two goals for the U-23 side. She has a goal in five appearances for the full team.
“When Crissy is on the ball it’s just amazing,” he said. “It’s just amazing. A different class. To have a good player with that much intelligence and sophistication about the game, its a crying shame she isn’t on the National Team every single game. That’s the type of player we always say in the boys game that we can’t produce and we produce it in the girls game. She is the Brazilian of American soccer. I don’t understand how we [the U.S.] can’t play her. You watch Marta and all these girls from Brazil and she’s just as good as them.”
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