Randy's Rookies: Amelia Pietrangelo, soccer star
Published Wednesday, September 26, 2012 11:31AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 26, 2012 1:34PM EDT
Amelia Pietrangelo's mother knew from an early age that her daughter was very active.
What took some time to figure out was that traditional activities for little girls, such as figure skating, would not work out.
"I started off with regular ballet. That was a disaster. Then gymnastics. That was better, she liked that," said Filomena Di Lilla.
It was only when Amelia was enrolled in soccer that her parents found the key to her daughter's engagement: competition.
"I liked the feeling of running around. I really like winning and scoring and soccer brought out the competitive side in me," said Amelia.
When Amelia was 13 people started to notice her skill, and as a member of a competitive under-16 team, she won the Canadian championship.
That soon led to coaches competing to have her on their team.
"We were the best in Canada. I got recruited by National team coaches and got called into the National team camps," said Amelia.
Her fiercely competitive nature has earned her accolades -- and a reputation. Teammates say she is wonderful, but those on the opposing side say she is reminiscent of Quebec Nordique Dale Hunter, who was known as the Nuisance.
"You like her on your team but you hate playing against her," said Kaitlyn Fournier.
But after several stellar seasons Amelia hit a low point when she tore her ACL.
The physical recovery took months, but didn't stop her from getting a full-field awareness of the pitch, and Coach David Cerasuolo was pleased to see Amelia return to the National team.
"The thing that puts her a notch ahead is that she really understands the game," said Cerasuolo.
"She can play different roles and different systems so that gives her a huge plus."
Soccer has taken Amelia to Rutgers University on a full scholarship, and she hopes the next big competition will be global in scope.
"I am focusing on the 2015 World Cup and once that is done there is still the Olympics and other goals that Iwant to reach," said Amelia.
Lofty goals for someone who once liked nothing more than to run with a soccer ball.
"I liked beating people and proving them wrong."
If you know a great amateur athlete in your community, email Randy today and they may end up being profiled as one of Randy's Rookies.