Notre Dame photo of Cari playing for the Fighting Irish
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
January 20, 2016-Cari Roccaro, who grew up playing for the Albertson Soccer Club of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) and in the Olympic Development Program of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA), has been selected fifth overall by the Houston Dash in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Draft. Cari was Houston’s first pick of the three they had in the first round and she is reunited with her former coach at Notre Dame, Randy Waldrum, who is the Houston coach.
Cari will join the team during the season after recuperating from recent hip surgery. One of her new teammates is Carli Lloyd, recently selected as FIFA Women’s Player of the Year for being the big star at the Women’s World Cup last summer.
St. John’s University women’s coach Ian Stone coached Cari on ODP and explained, “Cari was a player that was way ahead of the rest of her age group, particularly from a tactical sense, in her positional versatility, and psychologically, in that she had a fierce competitiveness and showed a phenomenal amount of passion to improve.”
“We all knew two things about Cari when she graduated from our Albertson Fury program. One day, she would play professionally and another day, she would represent the US Women’s National Team at the Women’s World Cup,” commented Albertson’s Director of Coaching, Paul Riley. “She is halfway there and she thoroughly deserves everything she gets. She has all the tools of a top player: competitiveness, intelligence and skill. Houston will be her next opportunity to improve her game and with a coach like Randy (Waldrum), she will continue to develop towards her ultimate goal.”
As a teenager, the East Islip resident played five years in Eastern New York ODP, three years for Region 1 ODP and five seasons for the East Islip High School girl’s varsity team, starting in the eighth grade. In the 2008 East Islip Middle School yearbook, Cari and her classmates were asked to write down what they would be in 20 years. So Cari filled in the blank with the only profession she had dreamed of since elementary school, becoming a professional soccer player.
“I never thought it was actually in reach,” she said. “But as I grew up, it became so much more realistic.”
With her club team, Albertson Fury ‘93, Cari won the 2009 and 2011 State Open Cup titles as well as the 2009 Region 1 championship and 2011 Region 1 Premier League division championship.
She was a 2009 addition to the Long Island Fury and helped lead the team to the Women’s Premier Soccer League national championship that season plus played on the New York Fury of WPSL Elite in 2012. Both teams were coached by her youth coach, Paul Riley.
“Cari’s biggest asset is her desire to be the best,” added Coach Riley. “She never accepted anything else and on the Fury, we insisted that she pushed all her limits. We are extremely proud of Cari and are convinced she will have the impact in the league like our six other graduates in the NWSL have done.”
The 2011 Newsday Girls Soccer Player of the Year has experienced international success as well when the United States won the Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan in 2012. Cari was the youngest starter for the USA.
Playing as a midfielder and defender at Notre Dame, Cari was honored as Soccer America National Freshman of the Year and Soccer America First-Team MVP, or in other words, an All-American.
With over 100,000 youth soccer players––both boys and girls––and more than 25,000 volunteers, the non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) stretches from Montauk Point, Long Island to the Canadian border. Members are affiliated with 11 leagues throughout the association, which covers the entire state of New York east of Route 81. ENYYSA exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 years old, and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees and administrators. All levels of soccer are offered––from intramural, travel team and premier players as well as Special Children. No child who wants to play soccer is turned away. ENYYSA is a proud member of the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer Association. For more information, please log on to http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.