During her four-year collegiate career as a member of the St. John’s University women’s soccer team, Christina Bellero was a fixture on the pitch for head coach Ian Stone.
With 74 appearances, the Melville native continued to grow as a player and in her final two seasons expanded her role to become a key component in the team’s offense. In her junior and senior seasons, she scored 13 goals and twice was named to the All-Big East Second Team.
Now, the Half Hollow Hills East graduate is going pro with Football Femminile Lugano 1976 of Lega Nazionale A in Switzerland. She joins her college teammates Samie Scaffidi and Lindenhurst’s Claudia Cagnina at Lugano.
Bellero recently spoke with SleterFC.com about going pro and her time as a member of the Red Storm.
SLETERFC.COM: How did you connect with FF Lugano?
CHRISTINA BELLERO: I connected with FF Lugano through my St. John’s teammate Samie Scaffidi. She introduced me to the manager and I sent over my highlight video and CV and they wanted me to come play for them.
SFC.COM: What factors attracted you to Lugano?
CB: I think what attracted me most to Lugano was the opportunity to play in Champions League. The team qualified for Champions league and based on their finish from last year, have a bye into the second round. I really wanted the opportunity to play at such a high level like Champions League. What also attracted me to FF Lugano was the location. I love traveling and was so glad to get the opportunity to explore Switzerland and Italy.
SFC.COM: Have you had a chance to play/train with the team? If so, what differences in style and quality of play have you noticed?
CB: I have been training with the team since the beginning of July. I have noticed that they focus a lot more on the technical aspects of the game and put a lot of emphasis on a good first touch and quality passes. We have pre-season games scheduled against top teams like Juventus Women and Inter-Milan Women and the level of competition in the Swiss league is extremely high.
SFC.COM: What are you most looking forward to with playing and living in Switzerland?
CB: I am most looking forward to starting games and getting to experience the atmosphere of playing professional soccer in Europe where soccer is the top sport.
SFC.COM: During your four years at St. John’s, what parts of your game do you feel improved the most?
CB: During my four years at St. John’s I feel all aspects of my game have improved but specifically, I would say my defending and my mental approach have improved.
SFC.COM: When looking back at your four years at St. John’s, what are a couple of moments/memories stand out?
CB: When looking back, the opportunity to play with and against some great players stands out to me. A couple of moments and memories that also stand out to me are the games where we played our hardest and left everything on the field. For example, our game vs. Villanova last season was a highlight because we came back from losing 2-0 to winning 3-2 because of the heart and desire to win our team had. My (graduating class) was very close and I am so lucky to have had the chance to play with and experience college with them for the past four years.
SFC.COM: For the youth soccer players back on Long Island who dream of one day playing professionally, what would you say to them?
CB: I would tell them that it is very possible and to not give up on those dreams. Soccer can be not only physically but very mentally challenging. I would tell them to not let that ruin their confidence and to keep working hard because soccer also has so many great moments that make it all worth it in the end.