When she returned home from the Under-17 World Cup in 2009, Vicki DiMartino was more interested in training than resting.
By Michael Lewis
When Vicki DiMartino returned home from the Under-17 World Cup in New Zealand in 2008, Riley went to the airport to greet her and teammate and defender Crystal Dunn, another area player on the team. DiMartino earned the Silver Boot award as the second-highest goal-scorer in the tournament as the Americans finished second.
“She comes out with the Silver Boot in her hand and she asks, ‘Is there practice tomorrow?’ ” said Paul Riley, who has coached DiMartino on the Albertson Fury and Long Island Fury. “It’s all about the next one, anything to get better. That’s what makes her special.
“I always see people who say I want to be on the national team,” Riley said. “But actions speak louder than words and every action she says is a national player.”
Of course, it certainly doesn’t hurt that Vicki, 19, is a lethal shooter and goal-scorer. In her freshman season at Boston College, DiMartino scored eight goals and assisted on two others. She improved to 14 goals and eight assists this season for the Eagles, who reached the NCAA Division I women’s semifinals.
Internationally, Vicki is best known as the only American women’s player to score in five consecutive games at a FIFA-sponsored tournament. Not even the great Michelle Akers, Mia Hamm or Abby Wambach has accomplished that feat.
“It still hasn’t hit my yet,” Vicki said after she returned home. “I’m sure when I’m older and when I have kids and stuff I could tell them when I look back at this. It still hasn’t hit me yet.
“The experience was great. What kid my age gets to go across country and represents the United States? It was great. The crowd was good. My team, making it there was an accomplishment for me.”
Asked what stood out about the tournament, Vicki replied, “it was just aspect of playing in a huge stadium with the crowd. It was like the real deal when you see on TV with the English Premier League. I guess I rose to the occasion with the five goals.”
Vicki, the biggest of the sisters at 5-7 and 135-lbs., followed in the boot steps of older sister Gina, attending BC, although having her older sister at the school did not affect her choice.
“She wasn’t really a big part of it,” she said. “I made my decision — it was good that she was going there — but she had no effect on me going to Boston. I love the school, the team.”
The secret to Vicki’s success? Well, sometimes Vicki has played with the boys, in which the bigger players and faster play challenges her and forces her to play at a high level. She was a standout at Massapequa High School and the Massapequa Soccer Club.
“It’s a totally different style.” she said. “It’s a faster game. It’s just quick touch on the ball. With the girls, you have more touches and more time to think. But with the guys, its like one-two and the ball moves.”
Several years ago, Riley “said she was a very good player. Now, she’s an unbelievable player. She’s a pure goal-scorer. She’s strong. She throws herself about. She’s very focused on scoring goals. She receives the ball and the only thing about her is how is this going to get into the net? ‘What do I have to do? Do I have to shoot, bend it, dribble players, get a wall pass?’
“She’s a great player to have up front. She’s a great target player. She can move behind defenses. She can move behind defenses because she’s very quick. You can play her as a target. She can hold the ball and bring the midfield into play. Anytime you go down the line and cross it, she’s on the end of it. She can use both feet, which is good. Even though she is a lefty, she hits the ball like a rocket with her right as you saw in the World Cup. great team player, too.”
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