Stephanie Radakovic, a resident of Lake Ronkonkoma and recent graduate of Sachem North High School, recently received the Patricia Louise Masotto and Brenda Driscoll Scholarship from the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association.
The scholarship is named in honor of two soccer players from Massapequa who were best friends and killed by a drunk driver in 1985. The award is based on academic and athletic success as well as community service.
Radakovic, who will attend St. Peter’s University this fall, played midfield in high school for Sachem North and played club ball for a handful of teams including Lake Grove/Newfield Tsunami, Lake Grove/Newfield Huskies and Smithtown Hotspur of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL). She won a State Open Cup with the Tsunami in 2016.
In her scholarship essay, Radakovic wrote, “I could easily say that the beautiful game of soccer has molded me into the person I am today. This sport has mentally challenged me and has pushed me to be a better version of myself daily. My dad taught me that if I wanted something in life, I had to work for it. We would go in my backyard for hours until I perfected my foot skills or could hit the net in the same spot 20 times.
“The word dedication was engraved in my mind and carried over with me throughout the years. My dad explained how there was a difference in the good players and the great players. I knew I wanted to be great so I gave it all up for that. Whether I was watching soccer on TV, juggling a ball in my basement or going on runs after practice, I was always trying to work harder than everyone else. I learned how to sacrifice myself for a greater cause due to the relationships that grew among my teammates and me.”
She concluded, ”My senior year in high school, I was a car accident and broke my ankle in two places. I am currently working towards being prepared to play in college and really have to push myself to be ready. Soccer is such a big part of my life I am willing to do whatever it takes to get it back.”