Since the age of two, Maria Iannone has spent her evenings on a soccer pitch.
Now, the Penticton local will have the chance to take her soccer career to the next level when she joins Thompson River University’s WolfPack team next season.
The Penticton Secondary student is excited, to say the least.
“I know a lot of people that have played there, and I’m really excited to take my soccer career to the next level,” she said.
“I think it’s a really awesome opportunity and I’m really excited.”
WolfPack Coach Pennington said he was excited to find out that Iannone had chosen to join TRU and the WolfPack program.
“Maria is a talented player whose desire, skill and athleticism will be a big addition to our program,” he said.
“Maria has the ability to be an impact player at the university level and I believe she will help increase the competitive level within our team.
“We are looking forward to having her as part of our developing culture.”
Over the years, the Penticton Pinnacles Football Club FC program, with which Iannone is currently involved, has seen many of their players go on to play at a higher level.
One is her past assistant coach and current WolfPack player, Marisa Mendonca.
For the last five years, Mendonca has played for the WolfPack, three of which were spent as co-captain.
Iannone credited Mendonca for being a positive influence as she grew as an athlete, and a large reason she pursued playing for TRU.
Iannone, a 5-foot-3 striker and midfielder, hopes to bring energy to the WolfPack team, as well as a will to win.
Over the years, she has become known for her speed on the pitch and ability to see the field and play strategically.
One person, in particular, has helped both these athletes to excel over the years, Iannone’s past Pinnacles head coach and father to Mendonca, Carlos.
“Maria seems to have a great understanding of her role, great vision on the field and is very competitive with a great work ethic,” he said.
“These traits should serve her well at the next level.”
Carlos explained that over the years, TRU has maintained its great connection to Penticton, and the Pinnacles FC, on both the boys’ and girls’ programs.
Knowing that TRU is always looking for creative players, Marissa had recommended Iannone to the university.
This upcoming season with TRU will serve as the first time she has played a full year with her age group.
“It should be a very solid season for her,” said Carlos.
“She is very confident and works hard during the course of the game and practises.”
Both Carlos and Maria expressed their excitement at finding out that Iannone had signed on with the WolfPack, adding that it’s encouraging to see yet another Penticton player join the university team.
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