Arianna grand for Roma
A second generation player is making an impact this season for the St. Catharines Roma Wolves in the League1 Ontario Premier Women’s Division.
Heading into the team’s home opener Friday night against BVB IA Waterloo, Niagara Falls native Arianna Zumpano was leading the team in scoring with three goals. The A.N. Myer alumna’s father, Frank, was a former member of Club Roma and played with current Roma women’s coach Lucio Ianiero.
“It is definitely interesting to be playing where he played and kind of following in his footsteps a little bit,” she said.
Frank has played a role in his daughter’s impressive soccer career.
“Both my parents played soccer but he played in college. He always comes to my games, trains with me a lot and lets me know what I am doing and what I should be doing.”
Arianna is coming off her freshman season at the University of Buffalo, where she started four of 19 games and was named to the Mid-American Conference All-Freshman team after recording three goals and an assist.
Prior to attending Buffalo, she was a member of the Western New York Flash. There, she was named u16 Ohio Valley Player of the Year, was a two-time selection to the Elite Clubs National League Ohio Valley all-conference team and was named to the u16 ECNL All-American team. Zumpano led her team to three appearances in the ECNL National Playoffs.
“Arianna is a player who has trained and played in the U.S, and we have been watching her for a while,” Ianiero said. “The prospect of her getting a D1 scholarship was evident quite early with her technical abilities. As good as she is, there were a lot of offers and she decided to attend one of the schools over the river. We are happy that she is staying close as she can continue to play with us in the summers and contribute to this team.”
Zumpano chose Buffalo over a number of other offers.
“Over all the schools I visited, the team was very close and the coaches were all super nice. It was a better environment than any of the other teams.”
The math major confirmed to herself that she had made the right choice during her first week at the school.
“After meeting everybody and having my first practice, I realized that I fit in perfectly with everyone.”
She enjoyed her first season playing striker with Buffalo.
“It went well. I got to experience a lot of minutes on the field and I learned a lot from everyone.”
Zumpano believes her game got better over the season.
“I improved a lot on the mental side. It’s knowing and thinking the game more so I can be more reactive.”
She already knows what she wants to work on next season.
“My next step is to become better on the ball when I am facing my own goal because that is where I fall short a little bit sometimes. This season, I will be improving on that.”
The 5-foot-3 winger is enjoying her time with Roma.
“It is awesome. I have never been able to play in the summer for such a strong team and it has been a great experience,” Zumpano said. “I like the high level or professionalism and it is what we need in Canada for women’s soccer. It is really going in the right direction.”
Ianiero is big fan of Zumpano.
“It is her technical abilities and she is just a natural winger that has an instinct to want to get by her defender. She is very crafty and she is more successful than not. It is a joy to watch her play.”
Zumpano was thrilled to finally play at home after seven road games to open the season.
“It is so exciting. We are going to have so many friends and family come to watch us and just the thrill of being at home should get us motivated,” she said, before the game.
The Wolves won their first three games and then lost three of their last four heading into the home opener, starting with a 3-2 loss to the Woodbridge Strikers.
“Sports are like that and teams go in streaks. We had a great start and we had some confidence,” Ianiero said. “Then we met last year’s champion in Woodbridge and we fell short there. As poorly as I felt we played there, we almost got a result. From there, maybe some doubt creeps into the head of these young ladies.”
The Wolves improved to 5-3 on the season Friday with a 2-0 win over Waterloo. Ashley Altamirano and Sydney Sica scored for Roma in the first half and Emma Hendrie recorded the shutout.
“It was a good team performance and the defensive line played well keeping Waterloo at bay,” Ianiero said.’
He singled out the play of Zumpano and Sabrina Bissante.