Petrucci off to semifinals
Mason Petrucci is off to a great start at the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games.
The 18-year-old St. Catharines resident had a goal and set up a couple others Monday in a 7-0 victory by Ontario’s men’s soccer team over the Northwest Territories. He then netted the game-winning goal Tuesday in a 3-0 victory over Saskatchewan.
“I’m really happy with my performance and our team’s performance and I’m looking forward to playing in the semifinal on Thursday,” the Saint Francis graduate said.
Ontario play New Brunswick in the semifinals Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Young’s Sportsplex in Welland. The winner advances to the championship game Friday at 7 p.m.
Petrucci is relishing his Canada Games experience.
“I’m really excited to play in Niagara, in my hometown, in front of my family and friends, and I’m glad I got this opportunity,” he said. “It’s unbelievable. To get to play in front of my friends and family is just something I don’t get to do often. I’m playing in Toronto all the time and I’m glad that it’s here in Niagara.”
After Tuesday’s game, he had several of his friends come up and congratulate him on his performance. Family members have been at all his games, including his grandparents.
The 5-foot-9, 150-pound striker is also enjoying his time at the Athletes’ Village.
“It’s good. It’s an experience and something that I’ll never forget,” he said. “I’ve been hanging out and meeting some new athletes from different provinces and different sports.”
Petrucci’s appearance in the Canada Games came about when the Ontario Soccer Association asked the Toronto FC Academy to be Ontario’s representative in Niagara.
“I’m glad they did,” said Petrucci, who has been with the Toronto FC Academy for the past two years. “We had some tryouts with other Ontario soccer players from around the province and they released the roster a couple weeks ago on their website. They sent out an email to all of us saying ‘congratulations.’ ”
Only Toronto FC players were chosen for the team.
Petrucci started playing soccer with Club Roma and he has been playing the sport for the past 14 years.
“I went through playing up in Toronto for a bunch of academies and just last season I made Toronto FC Academy. It’s been great ever since then.”
Petrucci is also an accomplished athlete in other sports. While at Saint Francis, he qualified for Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association championships in track and field and cross country and is a former Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association cross country champion. Last fall, he was a member of the Saint Francis senior boys volleyball team that captured the Niagara Catholic Athletic Association AA crown.
When the summer is over, Petrucci will be heading to Brock University to study sports management. He won’t, however, be suiting up for the Badgers men’s program. He is going to continue to train with Toronto FC Academy.
“After that, I’m not sure what’s next, potentially joining Toronto FC’s second team and, if not, then eventually with Brock University.”
He knows it won’t be easy to balance soccer and post secondary schooling.
“It’s gonna be pretty tough, but I’m sure I can work something out.”