They each played their youth and high school soccer on Long Island and would go on to be teammates at St. John’s University.
Now, Christina Bellero and Claudia Cagnina will continue their careers together. Both have signed contracts to play professionally in Switzerland with Football Femminile Lugano 1976 of Lega Nazionale A. Also on the team is their former Red Storm teammate Samie Scaffidi. Bellero and Cagnina also played summer ball together in the WPSL with SUSA FC.
FF Lugano is coming off a stellar season, finishing second overall in the Swiss League to qualify for the preliminaries of the UEFA Champions League next season.
Over her four years with St. John’s, Bellero of Melville scored 20 goals to finish her career eighth on the university’s all-time list. She also had 11 assists for a total of 51 points in 74 games.
“I am so excited to get the chance to travel and play professionally in Switzerland,” said Bellero. “To play with FF Lugano and in the Champions League is a great opportunity and I am really looking forward to experiencing it. Also, getting to play with two former teammates only makes it better.”
Cagnina of Lindenhurst played four seasons for head coach Ian Stone’s team. Appearing in 67 matches with 35 starts, she had two goals and five assists.
“Ever since I was a little girl, it has always been a dream of mine to play professionally,” Cagnina said. “This is a dream come true and it is honestly such a blessing. I am more than excited to get started.”
Not surprisingly, their former college head coach expressed a great deal of pride in Bellero and Cagnina.
“Christina has made huge contributions to the St. John’s women’s soccer program from her freshman year and throughout her career,” said Stone. “Her game is now completely ready for the professional, UEFA Champions League level. We all wish her luck and are very appreciative of everything that she has invested in our team.”
Regarding Cagnina, the head coach said, “Claudia is a player that wasn’t particularly highly recruited out of high school. The progress that she has made over her four years is a tremendous credit to her attitude and passion for our sport. The fact that she made the All-Big East Second Team in her senior year, and is now going to play professionally in Europe, is proof that dreams can come true if you are prepared to work hard enough to attain them.”