Following a four-year collegiate career at St. John’s University, Lindenhurst native Claudia Cagnina is beginning her professional career with Football Femminile Lugano 1976 of Switzerland’s Lega Nazionale A
While a transition from college to the pros is always challenging, she does so with some familiar faces around her. Red Storm teammates Christina Bellero and Samie Scaffidi are also playing with FF Lugano this season.
Recently, Cagnina spoke with SleterFC.com about embarking on her pro career and her time at St. John’s.
SLETERFC: How did you connect with FF Lugano?
CLAUDIA CAGNINA: I first was connected with FF Lugano through my teammate Samie Scaffidi. She introduced me to the manager and I sent over my CV and highlight video and they were interested and wanted me to play for them.
SFC.COM: What factors attracted you to Lugano?
CC: I think the main factor that attracted me to Lugano was the chance to play in the Champions League. The Champions League is the most elite tournament for soccer so I really wanted to have the opportunity to play at such a high level with many other elite soccer players. Another factor was that my teammates were going as well and that was definitely a plus. And finally the location and the chance it has given me to explore Switzerland.
SFC.COM: When training with the team, what differences in style and quality of play have you noticed?
CC: I have been training with the team since July 8. I have seen that in Europe they focus a lot more on the technical part of the game, which is very beneficial to my game. We also have pre-season games vs. AC Milan and Juventus Women. I am super excited to see how our team does against other high-level opponents.
SFC.COM: What are you most looking forward to playing/living in Switzerland?
CC: I am most looking forward to living my dream to be able to play professionally in Europe and being able to get exposure to other high-level soccer clubs all around Europe.
SFC.COM: In making the announcement that you were joining Lugano, your former coach Ian Stone talked about your growth as a player during your four years at St. John’s. What parts of your game do you feel have improved the most?
CC: I feel like Coach Stone has helped me become a complete player. He made me better as a player and always pushed me to try my hardest and to be my best. I think all around- defensively, offensively, technique-wise and mentally, I have grown as a player throughout my years as St. John’s.
SFC.COM: When looking back at your four years at St. John’s, what are a couple of moments/memories stand out?
CC: One thing that stands out would just be being able to play with my graduating class for four years, which was amazing. Our love for the game always had us working hard towards the same goal, which made it so special. Also being able to finish third in the Big East last year when we were predicted to place sixth is something that shows all our hard work and determination that we put in on and off the field.
SFC.COM: For the youth soccer players back on Long Island who dream of one day playing professionally, what would you say to them?
CC: For all the youth players back on Long Island, never give up on your dream! This is the beautiful game. Every step of the way, just continue to believe in yourself. All your hard work pays off and there will be so many wonderful moments in your soccer career that makes all that hard work worth it. Just keep playing the game you love.