Roma’s man in the middle
Matthew Wnukowski was worth the wait.
The 22-year-old Welland native sat out last season dealing with some nagging injures but has been a vital piece of the puzzle for the St. Catharines Club Roma Wolves this year.
“We’re really excited to have him,” Roma director of soccer operations Carmine Provenzano said. “Last year we were hoping to get him but he was injured.”
Provenzano said Wnukowski is the key to Roma’s midfield.
“He’s an important part of the midfield, for sure. He wins the ball and gets the ball back for us. He makes good decisions, distributes the ball nicely, switches the ball across the field.
“He’s been a godsend for us to solidify the midfield.”
Wnukowski said he took it easy after dealing with injuries to his heel and ankles last season but soon found himself back on the pitch with some buddies in the Peninsula Soccer League.
“I was really excited and decided to give it a go,” he said. “I was dealing with a lot of stuff so it was difficult.”
Wnukowski enjoys the leadership role his position often brings.
“It starts with the midfielders,” said Wnukowski, who plays with an edge as evidenced by his three yellow cards and one red card this season. “If we’re not working hard or not doing well, the whole team kind of falls apart. Making sure every game I’m on it.”
Wnukowski admits the time away from the game gave him a new perspective on soccer.
“When you take a step back you see how much you miss stuff and it gives you a greater appreciation,” the Notre Dame graduate said. “I remember going to some of the home games and it was really fun seeing the whole atmosphere and made me wish I could be there and got me excited.”
Wnukowski graduated from Brock this week with a degree in sociology but isn’t sure what the real world has it store for him just yet.
“No idea. I’m just going to take it step by step.”
The Wolves, 2-5-2, are are Waterloo Saturday, Hamilton Wednesday and home to Guelph Friday, June 24.
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