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ND Women’s Soccer: Roccaro hopes to build upon recent individual success

Mary Green | Wednesday, August 28, 2013

For any collegiate soccer player, being named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List is a big deal. The award, given annually by the Missouri Athletic Club and voted upon by the NCAA Division I coaches who are members of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is presented to the most outstanding players in both men’s and women’s college soccer.

But for Irish sophomore Cari Roccaro, one of 31 players named to the watch list Aug. 20, individual accolades such as the Hermann Trophy always come second to team goals.

“I want to do anything to help our team win a national championship; that’s our goal,” Roccaro said. “We want to win the ACC, win the national championship, and anything I can do to help my team do that is amazing for me.”

Embodying the adage that “there’s no ‘I’ in team,” Roccaro even credits her placement on the watch list to the players around her in practices and on game day.

“I wouldn’t have been named to [the watch list] if it wasn’t for my teammates last year,” she said. “I think it was based on how the team helped me perform last year.”

That strong performance on the pitch in 2012 included six goals – third-most on the team -even though she missed the first seven matches of the season while halfway across the globe, winning a gold medal for the U.S. at the Under-20 World Cup in Japan.

Roccaro, who can play any position on the field except goalkeeper, attributes her individual successes to those around her. But Irish coach Randy Waldrum speaks more freely about the talent and presence that last year’s Big East Rookie of the Year brings to Notre Dame (2-0-0), particularly with her versatility on the pitch.

“If we’ve got her up front, she’s dangerous up there and she can score goals,” he said. “If we put her in the back, she’s one of the best defenders in the country because that’s where she plays with the national team. And then it seems if we put her in midfield that she understands the role of distributing the ball out of midfield, so I think just wherever we play her, she understands that role so well and can contribute as one of the key people in that role.”

That talent usually led Waldrum and his staff to shuffle Roccaro from position to position on a game-to-game basis last year, and Waldrum expressed his wish that she find a more permanent role this season. He said the midfield would be the ideal spot for her, one that would best utilize everything her game has to offer.

“She can win balls for you in midfield defensively, but she can score goals for you coming off of that spot,” Waldrum said. “It’s a little bit, too, up to some of the other players to continue to carry their weight, but right now we hope we can keep her in midfield.”

Roccaro and the Irish are next in action Friday when they host Oakland.

Contact Mary Green at [email protected]