Soccer News: Brianna Russo Meets Women’s World Cup Team
Imagine meeting your idol at the age of 13. That’s exactly what Brianna Russo was able to experience, thanks to her drive and love for soccer and the New Jersey ODP Program.
Vineland, New Jersey native Brianna Russo is a great example of how hard work pays offs. Brianna’s drive and commitment to soccer development earned her a spot on New Jersey Youth Soccer’s Olympic Development Program U14 Team and the Rush Soccer Club. Most recently, her love of soccer lead to her selection as one of eight girls in the New York and New Jersey region to meet and greet members of this year’s U.S. Women’s World Cup team.
SoccerToday recently interviewed Russo to get her feedback about these special soccer experiences.
Diane Scavuzzo: At what age did you start playing and was there anyone who was a strong influence in getting you to play?
Brianna Russo: I started soccer when I was 4 years old and my mom had a strong influence on the start of my career because she was an elite player. She had a scholarship to Rutgers University and then finished her career at Trenton State College/The College of New Jersey. My mom was a member of the ODP state and regional team. She got me involved in soccer and has encouraged me to follow my soccer dreams.
Diane Scavuzzo: New Jersey ODP is quite an achievement. How did you get involved and how have you enjoyed the experience thus far?
Brianna Russo: This year is my third year with ODP and I have really enjoyed the experience. I got involved with the program because my mom did it when she was younger and she told me this is where you will challenge yourself. I tried out when I was 11 and have been involved ever since.
Diane Scavuzzo: What characteristics have been important factors for the success that you are experiencing on the field?
Brianna Russo: Hard work, determination, dedication and confidence.
Diane Scavuzzo: What advice would you give to young players that are looking to climb the ladder of success in the game of soccer?
Brianna Russo: Never get discouraged by failure and always work your hardest. My mom always tells me, “Always work your hardest because there is someone else out there working just as hard as you. Never be satisfied.” In addition, set goals and achieve them. Make your dreams a reality.
Diane Scavuzzo: How did you react when you found out that you were one of the eight girls selected to meet the U.S. Women’s National Team?
Brianna Russo: I was very honored and so enthusiastic to have this opportunity because the women’s national team players are my role models. I respect their dedication and competitiveness that they bring to the game.
Diane Scavuzzo: Getting to meet the United States Women’s World Cup squad is an opportunity that many people never get. What was your favorite part of the experience?
Brianna Russo: Asking Sydney Leroux what her biggest obstacle was while trying to make the team. I was able to relate to her response when she said she had to move away from her family to play with the best team in the world. I am very close with my family and I honor Leroux’s courage and determination to live her dream.
Diane Scavuzzo: Who was your favorite player that you got the chance to meet?
Brianna Russo: Sydney Leroux. I admire her speed and her hard working attitude. She is dangerous on the field and that’s what makes her so exciting to watch.
Diane Scavuzzo: Were you able to relate to any of the players’ stories that involved hardship or success in their career?
Brianna Russo: I can relate my success in the ODP system to many of the New Jersey girls who played in this program, specifically Carly Lloyd. She went through the ODP program and things weren’t always perfect and eventually she worked her way up to the national team. Her achievements are admirable.
Diane Scavuzzo: Are you looking forward to watching the Women’s World Cup?
Brianna Russo: I am extremely excited to watch the World Cup. Watching higher level soccer improves my game. I can’t wait to cheer with pride for the girls who create excitement all around the country for girls’ soccer. GO USA!