Cass finds a home
The St. Catharines Roma Wolves of the League1 Ontario Women’s Premier Division was the perfect place for Cass Campanella to continue her playing career.
“I loved it because all the girls that were on the team were from Brock so were basically already family,” the 23-year-old Hamilton native said. “Then it was the culture because my background is Italian. It felt very comfortable coming into it and I was familiar with the anthem and everything.”
She tries to sing along with the Italian national anthem prior to games.
“It is jogging my memory because I used to go to Italian school and people used to sing it all the time. It was something that I picked up then and forgot along the way.”
Linking soccer with her heritage is meaningful for the Bishop Ryan and Brock University psychology graduate.
“It’s very important because culture is kind of dying out now. My nono (Charlie Campanella) was always the one to be singing the national anthem and my parents not so much. With him being gone, coming back is bringing him back to life and bringing our family back to life.”
She thinks about her nono and her parents, Tony and Clara, when she plays for Roma.
“My mom and dad always come out and my mom sings the anthem. I stare at her, watch her sing and try to mouth the lyrics with her. It puts a smile on my face.”
Her time at Brock helped her get connected to the Niagara Region.
“I got to know a lot of the volunteers and I started coaching at Club Roma last fall.”
Campanella plays wingback for the Wolves, which requires a lot of training away from the pitch.
“For me, it has always been cardio so I have always been pushing myself to run more because as a wingback there is a lot of running. You are up the field offensively and then you are back down the field to play defence. I always have to be running and biking because if you don’t it is gone.”
Her motivation for the training is simple.
“I love soccer and being passionate about it. You want to be good at it and I find enjoyment in running now. I put on some tunes, zone out, think about the day, think about tomorrow and put myself in my own space.”
In addition to her skills on the field, she is a co-captain of the team.
“It is going well. I just think of myself as a leader despite the title because I am one of the older girls on the team now. I don’t like to think about it. Last year we had older ladies on the team and they called themselves the grandmas but no, I don’t want to get there yet. I see myself being in the league longer, five years down the road too, and if I am leading now hopefully I will still be then.”
She has a relaxed leadership satyle.
“I am very fun, very open and I find that a lot of girls can come up and talk to me about anything. And I push them, If they are on the floor at the end of it we are still joking. I want to keep it fun.”
Campanella, who works in the health, safety and wellness department at Brock, loves how competitive League1 is to play in.
“Once you get you get a older, you can’t find that anywhere and it is hard. If you are playing a sport you love, you talk to anybody it’s like ‘Back to life. Now I have to work but I wish I could have kept playing competitive.’ I don’t want to grow out of that competitive atmosphere.
The Wolves (3-6-1) played to a 1-1 draw with visiting Alliance United (6-0-3) Wednesday night at Club Roma. Scoring for Club Roma was Terin Hultink.
St. Catharines hosts Electric City FC at 8:45 p.m. Friday. The visitors come in with a record of 3-3-1.