Freshman Gianna Rizzo prepares to lead the MSD women’s varsity soccer team to success in the future


Carolina Ochoa Lozano

Freshman Gianna Rizzo has been playing soccer for almost nine years. She is currently a starter on the MSD women’s varsity soccer team.

Julianne LoFurno, Sports editor

As the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School women’s varsity soccer team continues to maintain their almost perfect season record of 8-0-2, the team is preparing for their final stretch of district games this season. The Lady Eagles have exhibited consistent winning records in the last two years, as the team tore through districts and regionals to make it into the state playoffs in 2021.

The Eagles have set high standards for their oncoming players with their record. As the upperclassmen look towards their graduation in the near future, they will soon pass the torch to their underclassmen. Even though it is a tough burden to carry, freshman Gianna Rizzo (9) and her teammates have proved to be more than capable to fill the shoes of their forthcoming successors.

At the age of six, when she began her soccer career, Rizzo would not have imagined starting as a center midfielder for her extremely successful high school team as a freshman. She received inspiration at such a young age to play the sport by watching professional players on her television.

“I got into playing soccer from watching soccer games on my TV with my dad,” Rizzo said.

Throughout her several years in soccer, Rizzo dabbled in multiple sports. Her motives were to simply become an athlete through any sport, but she found the most enjoyment in soccer.

“I played about every sport imaginable because my dad knew I should be an athlete,” Rizzo said. “Now I just play soccer, with basketball on the side.”

Rizzo’s passion for the sport led her to play soccer at a higher level with the club team Florida United Girls Academy. On the team, she is able to develop her skills for improved gameplay. The team also sculpts her to be a noticeable player for college recruits, as the team travels to various locations for showcases. Being a part of the team is valuable for Rizzo, who has aspirations to play Division I soccer in college.

“It has been my dream to go D1 and it’s been my goal since forever,” Rizzo said.

Rizzo focuses the majority of her time towards her club and school soccer teams, training diligently to continue her improvement. Much of her training consists of speed conditioning and technical shooting, as well as other practices that keep her in top condition to be successful.

Rizzo is thrilled to play on the MSD soccer team, and she looks forward to playing for the team for the next three years of high school. She feels as though the team is well-rounded and has a great dynamic. Many of her teammates feel as though Rizzo is a big contributor to this dynamic with her upbeat personality.

“Gianna is a great addition to the team on and off the field,” defender Calista McCausland (6) said. “She works hard and her personality blends super well.”

Rizzo’s life revolves around athletics, as she finds great enjoyment in physical activities. Outside of soccer, she plays basketball on the side to stay in shape and for her own enjoyment. Rizzo has found a liking in the sport because she stands at around 5 feet 10 inches tall, which gives her a great advantage in the sport.

Along with basketball and soccer, Rizzo also enjoys playing football. Her father had deep connections with the sport and played it on a collegiate level, passing on his knowledge to Rizzo.

“My dad was a running back at a school called Lafayette College,” Rizzo said. “He now passes on all his training to me.”

As the MSD soccer season draws closer to a conclusion, Rizzo is already preparing for the next season. She is looking forward to her next three years in high school, where she will be able to grow as an athlete and a person before starting the next fundamental chapter of her life.