Sports

Keeping it all in the family

Morena Ianniello walks in her father's footsteps on to the soccer pitch

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Dinos women's soccer player Morena Ianniello has made a name for herself with noticeable speed and a hard-pushing attitude. The forward was one of the shining stars of the team in the 2007 season, scoring eight of their 15 goals along with surviving hardships like the shoulder injury sustained in a weekend against several teams from B.C., but most noticeably, showing her stuff as a true leader among her teammates.

Ianniello's father, who played soccer professionally in Italy, played a large part in her early introduction to the sport. Her first experience came from playing on a co-ed community team at the age of five, leading her to play with the Edgemont community centre and eventually, with the Blizzards, where she continued to hone her skills until the age of 18. After successful tryouts for the Dinos, she made a splash in the 2006 season, scoring four of her team's six goals, placing them third in the Canada West conference.

Ianniello cites her family's support as a one of the main sources for her success.

"My whole family loves it and it's been a passion for them," she says. "I've been raised with soccer and that's what's motivated me to play it. My best friends all play too, so it's good to be able to see them outside of school and share something with them that I enjoy."

After the personal success of the last two seasons, Ianniello says she wants to go further next year in all regards.

"Individually, I want to try to get 10 goals," she says. "As a team goal, I think we need to be more positive. If you have a bad game, don't get down on each other and just to be able to make playoffs and do well in them."

The team is focusing on maintaining their skills in the off-season, doing cardio and weight training, playing on indoor leagues together, doing spin classes and having kick-arounds.

"It's really never an off-season," Ianniello says. "We're always competing."

With the team agreed on some shortcomings of this season, Ianniello and her fellow soccersaurs are looking to next year to build on their strong base and hopefully take 2008 into a playoff run.

"Right now, we have two forwards: myself and Katie Blundell and we've played together for the past two years, so that is pretty good," says Ianniello. "We'd like to find another forward to give us a rest every once in a while. Our midfield is really strong but we're looking for outside mids and we have a really strong defensive line, so it's looking pretty good. Our goaltending is pretty good too. We just need to work more on team bonding. We're always looking for new players and we've got a good core this year, so I think we'll do a lot of good things next year."

Regardless of the turnout for the coming years, Ianniello looks at the sport as a way unwind andm ultimately, keep up with one of her life passions and pastimes.

"If I'm stressing out, it's my way of forgetting about everything else," she says. "When I'm playing, I don't focus on anything else. School, drama and everything else gets put away for the hour and a half that I'm playing. My life is school and soccer."

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