By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
What do you do after you become a world champion? For Rockville Centre’s Crystal Dunn and East Islip’s Cari Roccaro of the United States Under-20 Women’s National Team, who won the Under-20 World Cup in Japan on September 8, there were no trips to Disney World or a ticker tape parade in Lower Manhattan’s Canyon of Heroes.
Far from the limelight, the two Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) alumnae simply returned to school and to playing college soccer.
Crystal had an Under-20 Women’s World Cup reunion of sorts when her number 6-ranked University of North Carolina Tar Heels drew 2-2 at the number 5 University of Virginia Cavaliers on September 16. Scoring both Tar Heel goals was Kealia Ohai, who netted the only goal in the Under-20 final off an assist by Crystal. Keeper Bryane Heaberlin came up big in the late stages for North Carolina as she made saves on shots by Morgan Brian, her Under-20 teammate. Their Under-20 coach, Steve Swanson, is also the Cavaliers’ coach.
Meanwhile, in South Bend, Indiana, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish rolled to a 7-0 Big East victory over the University of Cincinnati Bearcats with freshman Cari Roccaro scoring her first collegiate goal.
Both Crystal and Cari each played for Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association’s (ENYYSA) Olympic Development Program for six years and used that experience as a springboard to receive college scholarships and to represent the USA internationally.
In the LIJSL, the largest league in ENYYSA, Crystal played for the Rockville Centre Power, Rockville Centre Tornadoes and Albertson Fury ’93.
“Crystal has a genuine love for the game and a true desire to be the very best,” commented Tim Bradbury, ENYYSA’s Director of Coaching Instruction who coached her on the Power and Tornadoes. “She was the first to arrive at practice and the last to leave. Now when she comes home to Rockville Centre, she often plays against some of the boys teams I train.”
Cari competed for the LIJSL’s Albertson Fury ’91, won the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) national championship with the Long Island Fury in 2009 and played for the New York Fury of WPSL Elite this past summer. She was coached on all three teams by Paul Riley.
“Cari might have been the youngest starter for the USA but she proved her spot. Tough, tenacious, played against some top players and she was tremendous,” said Coach Riley. “She has really worked hard at her game and her immense work rate and competitive style makes her a world class prospect.”
Perhaps Cari can match her friend’s accomplishment as a freshman as Crystal was named the Soccer America Freshman of the Year in 2010.