During a ceremony in Howard Beach, N.Y., held at end of January, Teresa Petruccelli-Weston received the IASL’s Italian-American Woman of the Year.
Petruccelli-Weston comes from a soccer family. Her father, Giulio, is a member of the Eastern New York Soccer Hall of Fame. She played on a boys team with the Auburndale Soccer Club of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) until she was 12 years old and then joined the first girls team for the LIJSL’s New York Hota Soccer Club, serving as team captain. Hota went on to win the New York State Open Cup three consecutive years.
Petruccelli-Weston also developed into a top player with Eastern New York ODP and Region 1 ODP. As a teenager, she played for the Long Island Lady Riders in 1996 and 1997, helping lead the team to the W-League national championship in 1997.
At St. Francis Prep in Queens, she was a four-year starter, captained the Terriers for two years and scored 95 goals. She became the first girl from Auburndale to gain a full scholarship to a Division I college with Boston University and would help the Terriers to two America East titles and two berths in the NCAA Tournament. Petruccelli-Weston was also honored as the America East Rookie of the Year.
In 2007, Petruccelli-Weston began training various girls travel and premier teams and founded the First Kicks Soccer Program for the Auburndale Soccer Club. First Kicks introduces children from ages three to five to sport of soccer. The program has grown and expanded to various locations on Long Island’s North Shore.
The Manhasset resident also founded the first adaptive soccer program for special needs children in the Auburndale Soccer Club.
“Women’s soccer has come a long way,” Petruccelli-Weston said during her acceptance speech. “When I was growing up in Queens, not many parents were pushing their girls to play soccer, so I was forced to play on a boy’s team. All my success is a direct result of my parent’s love and encouragement, on and off the field.”
She continued, “Some people rolled their eyes at my parents when they enrolled me in soccer. Others criticized them. But my parents, my coaches and my teammates at Auburndale never told me that, as a girl, I had no place on the soccer field. With their guidance, I learned that I could do anything I wanted do if I worked hard and kept trying. That’s the lesson I try to share with my children and now, as a coach, with my players on the field.”
(Written with information from an Eastern New York Soccer Association press release.)