Roma keeper a keeper
Emma Hendrie is making the most of her chance to start with the St. Catharines Roma Wolves in the League1 Ontario Premier Women’s Division.
“I definitely think I am progressing as a keeper in this league,” the 21-year-old Sault Ste. Marie native said. “I have had the opportunity to start every game and that is not something in my past that I have had the opportunity to do. I have been able to grow as a player. I feel my biggest problem going into all my Brock seasons was not having the game experience. I wasn’t getting it at home and I wasn’t getting the opportunities at Brock and this is going to help me going into my Brock season.”
The 5-foot-8 keeper started three games for Brock last fall but her few seasons she had a hard time getting playing time behind Marilena Spagnolo.
“It was very tough. I was behind Marilena my first two years and she is now playing pro in Spain,” Hendrie said. “She is an amazing keeper and she always pushed me to be a better keeper. But now I have the opportunity to take it on myself.”
She can’t wait to translate her summer experience into a bigger role with Brock.
“I am hungry for that starting spot at Brock this year. We have a young team there as well and I think we are going to have a positive season.”
Hendrie has no issues with being the last line of defence on the soccer field.
“I take every game as it comes and I try not to stress myself out about it too much,” she said. “I enjoy being the goal keeper and I don’t mind the pressure. I don’t find that it ever gets to me.”
It was a no brainer for her to join the Wolves for their inaugural season.
“It was a new program and soccer in Sault Ste. Marie isn’t very existent after the youth years and I thought that this was a great opportunity to help myself grow as a player,” she said. “It was an opportunity to be part of history and something new and it has been great. I am really enjoying it.”
It has provided an excellent challenge for her.
“It is definitely a really good level of competition and very comparable if not better than the OUA (Ontario University Athletics). There are a lot of older, more experienced players as well as younger players and it is a really good mix.”
Like all her teammates, Hendrie was stoked to finally play a home game last Friday night after seven road games to open the season.
“The energy and the feeling I got from that game was something that I had never experienced before. It was so much fun and we came out with the three points which made it even more fun. The fans were amazing and every piece of it from start to finish was incredible.”
Wolves coach Lucio Ianiero has been impressed with Hendrie’s play this season.
“I knew Emma from the Brock University squad and she has good size for a keeper, she is a good shot stopper, she makes good decisions, she is a quiet leader and we are happy with her performance thus far,” he said. “She has had several shutouts to this point, although, that is not just on her. That is speaking to out whole defence working together.”
Ianiero likes the way she takes command in the box.
“She is always communicating with her defenders and you can hear her giving instructions to the backline and the rest of the team,” he said. “I think that is a big factor.”
The Wolves fell to 5-4 on the season Wednesday with a 3-0 loss to visiting National Development Centre Ontario (6-0-3). Niagara gave up two early goals in the loss.
Roma is on the road against the Blue Devils FC Saturday.