Casey Platenik and Jake Socia
At 4-feet, 10-inches, you wouldn’t think somebody could be one of the best soccer players in their region. However despite this height, freshman Alex Catanzarite, 14, is among the top 40 girls soccer players in the Eastern Region in her age group. Teammate, freshman Alex Epifani says “her height doesn’t stop her from playing to her potential and she doesn’t let anything get in her mind while playing. She stays focused.”
Through Catanzarite’s career so far, she has had many great achievements to be proud of. She has been invited to training camps for elite players in Arizona and Florida and plays for one of the highest level teams in New York, Syracuse Developmental Academy. Catanzarite, just like many young athletes, has a dream: to play soccer at Notre Dame, because it is one of the best college level soccer programs. Catanzarite hopes to be selected to play on the U.S Women’s soccer team. According to Catanzarite; “I’m far from my goal at the moment, but if I keep working hopefully I’ll end up achieving my goal.”
Catanzarite’s SDA U15 team is currently the 14th best team in the US, but at one point last year held the Number 1 spot for about a month. Catanzarite gained attention from scouts from the Olympic Developmental Program after her SDA team won the Jefferson Cup in Virginia last year. The Jefferson Cup is one of the top youth soccer tournaments in the country.
The major factor that sets Catanzarite apart from other players is her work ethic. “To reach her level of playing she works harder than others and gives her all when she is on the field,” said her best friend, freshman Julia Kelner. The training she goes through gets her ready for her camps and tournaments. She practices three times a week, and also does Crossfit, which is a hardcore workout, that she does at the Crossfit gym on Erie Boulevard sometimes before school. Besides her work ethic her attitude helped her get to the high level of soccer where she is now. “Her positive attitude sets her apart from other players, which is something most coaches are looking for,” says Varsity Girls Soccer Coach Hayley Nies. Catanzarite’s says her attitude after a bad play is to just put the play aside and start fresh and try to make something good happen. “She takes the game serious but at the same time is able to have a smile on her face the whole time.” said teammate freshman Sophia Dimkopolous
Catanzarite said she has sacrificed her social life to soccer, although still manages to have several good friends. When she is at tournaments and camps, she facetimes with her friends. “She is out of town pretty much every weekend because of her soccer,”said sister Gracie Catanzarite. What little free time she has, Catanzarite spends unicycling, writing plays, and she also recently bought a pair of tap shoes and is going to practice that.
The long car trips and flights to camps and tournaments has caused Catanzarite to spend a lot time with her family. The strong bond this created can be seen on her Instagram which mainly consists of her pictures of her and her brother hanging out. “I am only mad at her about 5 percent of the time,” said Gracie Catanzarite; “the reason we get along together so well is because we are all so weird.” Catanzarite says she rarely gets mad at her family members and when she does she tries her best not to show it. Her parents don’t mind going to her tournaments and camps; “I think they have more fun at the tournaments sometimes then I do.” She said that her favorite family member is probably her cat because it’s furry.