Dino commits to D’Youville
Hanna Dino has found the best of both worlds at D’Youville University.
The 18-year-old Niagara Falls resident recently committed to the Buffalo university where she will play for the women’s soccer team while studying exercise science and physiotherapy.
“It’s super-close to home and that means my family and friends can come and watch me play whenever and I can come home whenever I want because it’s not too far,” said Dino, who is in her final days of Grade 12 at Saint Paul Catholic High School. “I think there were many different factors that went into it. Obviously, financially it had to work out and the location was important.”
Dino, who was offered an athletic/academic scholarship, said the all the pieces fit together nicely at D’Youville.
“The coach, Abby Pearson, some of the things she would say, she made it feel more personal,” Dino said. “I went to visit the school and the girls were so nice and welcoming.”
Dino said the educational component of the deal was also an important factor.
“This is what I’ve always wanted growing up, to play soccer at university. At the end of the day the soccer is a bonus. I’m there for the education as well because when the soccer is done, you have to work,” she said.
Dino, who also played club basketball (JUEL prep) until Grade 9, said she has always had an interest in medicine.
“Growing up playing sports people would be injured and that’s one of the worst things so I just want to help people get better, especially athletes,” she said. “My physiotherapist (Tania Mannella) motivated me and seeing how she works with people and helps them.”
Dino plays club soccer for Niagara International FC and gave credit to coach Andre Pacheco for his help in the recruiting process.
“He recorded the games so I could send film to coaches,” Dino said. “It was huge. He has contacts as well and that helped with exposure.”
Dino is eager to see how her skills as a forward/midfielder translate to the next level. Her exhibition season with the Saints begins in early August.
“Depending on how well I do will determine how much I play,” she said. “The competition is going to be difficult because I’m playing with girls who are so much older than me and they’ve been there a while. I’ve been talking to the seniors and they’ve been giving me tips what to do or what not to do.
“I think it’s going to be an interesting process, but I’m excited.”
Dino admits she will miss her extended family at Saint Paul.
“We have a good group of friends here and with the teachers, it’s like a family here,” she said. “Going to university, it will be a bigger environment but I’m excited for the change and ready to move on.
“It’s a little bit nerve wracking because it’s the next six years of your life but it’s really exciting at the same time.”
Saint Paul coach Kristen McDonald said the school will miss her as well.
“Good things happen to those who work hard and she comes from an amazing family,” McDonald said. “They are all tremendously hard workers. Since the day she stepped into Grade 9, we knew she would be a go-to athlete at the school. She played multiple sports and was a captain of multiple sports.
“It makes us so proud I get goosebumps. Anytime a kid tells us they are going to play something after secondary it makes us beam with pride. It’s that small percentage of kids who get to pursue it further and they make us very proud.”
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