SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Union Catholic's Izzy DiDario, one of the premier high school goalies in the state, has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken.
"I've been wanting to do something like this for a long time, so it's such an exciting day to make it official,'' said DiDario. "And to have all my friends here with me to support me means alot to me,'' said DiDario.
DiDario has built a remarkable resume at Union Catholic. This past fall, she was named to the Union County Conference First-Team by the Union County Girls Soccer Coaches Association. She had four shutouts and averaged 10.5 saves per game as the goalie for Union Catholic.
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One of the biggest highlights of the soccer season for DiDario came when she made numerous remarkable saves in a 1-0 upset shootout victory over Summit in the second round of the Union County Tournament. DiDario, who finished with 20 saves in the game, clinched the victory by stopping Summit's final shot in the shootout.
DiDario, a star guard on the UC basketball team this winter, is a four-year letter winner in both soccer and basketball for the Vikings and has served as a captain for both teams. The senior knew right away that Stevens was the perfect fit for her.
"I knew I wanted to pursue soccer, but I had to have a school that fit me as an academic person as well, and Stevens fit all the spots I needed to fill,'' said DiDario. "I knew when I walked on the campus at Stevens for the first time that I wanted to go there.''
DiDario said her time at Union Catholic has been instrumental in her development.
"Union Catholic has prepared me well for my future and has made me into the person that I am today that has allowed me to get into Stevens,'' said DiDario, who lives in Scotch Plains. "Union Catholic was a very pivotal part of my journey.''
Every since she started playing goalie exclusively in the fifth grade, DiDario knew it was the place for her.
"The second I put on the gloves and stepped into goal, I immediately knew what I had to do and went into soccer mode,'' said DiDario. "I just felt like goalie was the position where I belonged, and it's worked out well for me.''
DiDario loves the pressure that comes with playing goalie.
"I feel like the pressure helps me play better,'' said DiDario. " I think it's a big part of the game, and I love it.'
DiDario is also a very active member of the UC Community.
She serves as a school ambassador, is a member of the C.R.A.Y.O.N. Club, and has been involved the Future Health Professional Club, Student Movement Against Cancer, Service Club, is a tutor in geometry, and has served as the Athletic Trainers assistant. Outside of school, she's participated in fundraisers for childhood cancer, autism awareness, and she works with youngsters as a basketball camp counselor.
DiDario was recently chosen as one of just seven high school student athletes to be chosen by the New York Metro Regional Chapter as a recipient of a prestigious Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarship by the Positive Coaching Alliance
Ed Ryan, the assistant varsity soccer coach who works with the goalies, said Stevens is getting a great player and person.
"With Izzy, Stevens is getting an all-round great student athlete,'' said Coach Ryan. "She's been the starter here in goal for four years, and she's by far the best goalie I've seen in my 19 year coaching here. She's got great instincts, works hard, is very focused, and she's quick and has a lot of experience.''
"And Izzy is a great kid who is always willing to help her teammates on and off the field,'' said Coach Ryan. "She kept us in every game against Top 20 teams in the state, making save after save after save. No matter who we played, we knew that Izzy would keep us in the game. Izzy is also a great student and I hope she has an even better career at Stevens. I think as a true freshman next year she could go in start right away.''
DiDario said she will do what she always does when she gets to Stevens-work hard!
"I believe you have to earn everything,'' said DiDario. "If someone is better than me than they are going to start over me. So I know I have to go there and give 110 percent and work my hardest to get the position.''