A competitor since her youth, Olivia Piraino, is one of those players whose work ethic, talent, and dedication started from her early stages in soccer and have paid dividends in her career since.
“She was always very advanced and ahead of the curve. As a 10U, we had to move her up because she was just doing everything on the field. If there was a corner kick, she would take it. If there was a throw on the other side, she was doing it. Olivia was just all over the field and dominated to the point no one else was getting any work. We had to move her up and when we did, she dominated at that level too. Wherever we moved her, she dominated in all aspects of the game. She was uncanny,” says Albany Alleycats Academy Director and former coach of Piraino, Betsy Drambour.
Piraino, now a senior at Niskayuna High School in New York, is an upcoming University at Albany commitment for the 2020 season. As a senior, Piraino has been named to the New York State Sportswriters and Coaches Organization for Girls Sports first-team all-state as a striker.
During her freshman year at Niskayuna, Piraino was named to the Times Union large-school first-team all-star when she scored 19 goals that season.
Drambour, the coach of Piraino from nine to fourteen, in an ironic turn of events has gone from coaching her, to coaching against Piraino in high school. Drambour explains the difficulties she faces against her former player in this new role, “When playing Olivia, you can try to prepare for her. I know a lot about her moves and her speed. I know her vision. I know what she is looking for. I know her tendencies. You can rely on all of that information to a team all day, but Olivia’s still very difficult to defend...very difficult to defend. She is always thinking outside of the box and she’s quiet too. She’ll lull you to sleep and then attack. She’s one of those players that roam around, lurks and then all of sudden, she’s just magic.”
Piraino former coach continued, “She is a player that is so quietly deceptive and competitive. She is going to compete. Olivia is going to make sure she wins the game. That’s her personality. You may not even pick her out on the field, she’s so deceptive. Not only does she lull you, but watching her from the other side, she’s so methodical and talented. Olivia has so many eggs in her basket on how she is going to beat you. You always have to try and be one step ahead of her.”
During her junior year in 2017, Piraino’s season was cut short from a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament tear in her left knee, a hurdle that she has since had to overcome physically and mentally.
Brian Gordon, coach of Piraino club team the Alleycats 02G NL said,
“There was a mental block she had to get over. She was afraid of reinjuring herself and facing that physical set back again. But, the way she took the first hard tackle when she returned, she bounced back instantly. From then on, it’s been clear sailing. She’s rebounded very well. She hasn’t missed a beat and has just kept going forward from where she was at before the injury.”
Gordon continued on, “Olivia is incredibly laid back, be it on or off the field, she doesn’t get flustered. There could be 5 players around her trying to kick her and take the ball away, but Olivia will barely notice. She’s always so composed and laid back in these kinds of situations. I think that’s the biggest compliment I can give to her. It’s the calm she exudes.”
EDP would like to wish Olivia the best of luck at the University at Albany in her first season as a freshman and the remainder of her club season this year with the Alleycats 02G NL.
Founded in 1999, Elite Development Program Soccer (EDP) is one of the largest organizers of youth soccer leagues and tournaments in the U.S. EDP operates youth leagues for boys and girls ages 9-19, conducts a Futures program for players ages 7-11, and operates U20/23 men’s and women’s leagues. EDP also runs over 20 tournaments each year. The key emphasis for EDP’s leagues and tournaments is its Pathway to College™ programming which enables soccer players to reach their full potential with an emphasis on attending college. More than 3,500 teams participate in EDP’s leagues and more than 170,000 players compete in EDP tournaments annually. For more information on EDP, visit www.edpsoccer.com.