Former Real Salt Lake Women player, Stephanie Verdoia has been drafted to the NWSL Boston Breakers. We caught up with her to get some advice for young players and a little reflection on her time with RSL Women. How long have you been playing soccer? If from a young age – did you fall in love instantly or has it been a process over the years?
I have been playing soccer since I was 4. I fell in love instantly, I loved it from the very beginning and never lost that love for the game.
What advice do you have for the young girls trying to balance of of life's activities, school and soccer?
For young girls trying to balance school and soccer I would say: I know it's very very challenging. I always had more going on then my school friends. But if you love it then keep working hard at both and use your time wisely to study. Don't worry about missing out on certain activities because you are creating some of the strongest bonds of friendship through your team so it is worth it to sacrifice for. And if you keep working hard at both it will help you develop as a person and give you greater opportunities in the future.
Do you feel playing for RSL Women pre-college and during college helped you in any way prepare and develop to become a pro soccer player?
Playing for the WPSL in Utah really helped develop me as a player. In a technical and tactical sense, but mostly from the opportunity to play with women that loved the game more than anyone I had met. It helped me understand the sacrifices people make to play this game, and the amazing rewards that come from it. The atmosphere was closer to what a professional team I imagine will be like, even more than college. The competition and traveling and relationships are different than college and challenged me to be ready for the next step.
Can you share any coaches/players or experiences that you can remember that standout during your time playing in the WPSL in the state of Utah?
I had some great experiences with Annie Hawkins when I played. She instilled a lot of confidence in me and helped me climb to the next level. I remember getting to the final four in Florida two years ago and being so proud to play on the same field as her. She was an amazing captain and helped me believe in myself, something I still cherish today as a reason why I have become a professional soccer player.