Sports were always a part of Annalisa’s life. From early on, the young Italian-Torontonian would watch her father play soccer and would participate in many other sports, including baseball and hockey. “I began playing soccer at the age of nine, an age considered late for most people,” says Annalisa. “It’s a beautiful game that has taught me discipline and responsibility, and has allowed me to coach children as well,” she says proudly.
At 23 years of age, she currently plays with G.S. United from Scarborough, a team in the Ontario Women’s League. Most notably, however, her possession of both Canadian and Italian passports has allowed her to play at a professional level in Italy on two occasions. “I ended up travelling to Abruzzo when I was sixteen for a Serie A division team. In February of this year, I went to Verona for a week to play again in Serie A,” Annalisa says enthusiastically. “It was an amazing experience. I got to live my dream and prove to myself that I was able to keep up with their level of fitness.” The relentless athlete is planning to return to Italy in a few months and try out for another team.
Annalisa’s unquestionable talent has also allowed her to gain international awards as well as academic merits. She was awarded in Barcelona for scoring the most goals during a championship and had the opportunity to play against Venezuela and Spain. Schools all over the United States have offered Annalisa scholarships – twenty five in total – for a four year academic or professional program. However, Annalisa’s ultimate goal is to go pro overseas.
A role model for aspiring soccer players on the field, Annalisa also inspires children in an instructional role. For a few summers, she coached children from the age of five to eight in King City, Ontario. Her favourite part, she admits, is seeing the kids succeed, learn new things, and improve at every practice session. The way they trust her and look up to her builds her own confidence as well. “I’d encourage soccer 100% for kids. It’s a great atmosphere – mentally and physically. It keeps them active and gives them the opportunity to travel.” It is not unlikely for kids to injure themselves on the field, but Annalisa believes that with a great support system from the team and parents, there is no reason to be concerned. “Being mentally prepared, warming up, eating a balanced diet, and keeping your body hydrated” says the young athlete, are some of the best ways to be alert and avoid injuries.
Dreams are attainable with hard work and determination, and Annalisa Romano is a prime example. Her athleticism, charisma and unstoppable desire to succeed will not only propel her to great heights, but also help younger children become the future of soccer.