On Sunday, the U.S. women’s soccer team suffered a devastating loss to Japan in the FIFA World Cup final. We asked Veronica Napoli, a senior forward for the Northeastern University women’s soccer team, to analyze the significance of the loss and ponder her past, present and future on the field.
How disappointing is the World Cup loss?
It’s not as disappointing as you might expect. After the U.S. beat Brazil in the semifinal round, I think people began to realize how great of a team the U.S. has and how badly the players want to win. After all Japan has gone through this year, I think people were happy to see them come out on top.
You have scored 26 goals and dished out 11 assists in 56 career games with the Huskies. Why did you start playing soccer?
I grew up in Merano, Italy. Every day, I ran over to the soccer field across the street from my house with my two brothers and other boys in the neighborhood. I was the only girl who played. My earliest memory of the game is watching the older kids. I couldn’t wait to jump in and play.
Watching soccer is one of my favorite things to do, and I try to go to as many games as I can. After watching Italy win the men’s World Cup in 2006, I was so inspired to play. Soccer is life in Europe, which is why I love Europe so much.
The women’s soccer team plays its first regular season game of the 2011 campaign on Aug. 19. What are your expectations for the club? After you graduate, do you want to continue to play at an elite level?
I have high expectations. Every player is working hard and can’t wait for the season to begin. I think about making the NCAA tournament every day, and I know that we have the talent, coaches and athletic support from Northeastern to do it. We’re like the U.S. women’s team in the sense that our greatest strength is the cohesiveness of our overall club.
From a personal standpoint, I love soccer and I definitely want to continue playing. If I were to play professionally in Europe, I would be so happy; if I were to play in the women’s professional league, I might be even happier.