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Alumni Spotlight: Darby D'Angelo

Darby D’Angelo’s college advice: Be able to adjust

She played center midfield on her SDA team and at Clinton High School. But when Darby D’Angelo got to Siena College, the coach put her up top.

D’Angelo was slightly out of position as a striker, but coach Steve Kabowski was impressed with her performance. “She has a great feel for the game with her timing, vision and quality of passing,” he writes on the Siena website. 

Her best advice for those who want to play soccer in college is to be open to change. “Be able to adjust,” she says.

“you may be put into a new position. Just be willing to try new things.”

Through her participation with SDA, D’Angelo attended multiple ID camps and some of the highest profile tournaments, looking to be recruited to play soccer in college. “Then one game at one tournament, the head coach for Siena saw me and emailed me. He liked how I played. That’s how I got the idea of Siena.”

College coaches also reach out to club coaches to learn more about particular players. That provides an opportunity for the SDA coach to tout the player’s best traits and predict how he or she could adapt to different positions.

SDA Director of soccer, Michael Paolini spends a good portion of his days communicating with college coaches. He knows many at schools throughout the Northeast, where the majority of SDA players choose to attend college, but he is constantly meeting new coaches from all over the country who are looking for talented players.​

Paolini, who coached D’Angelo since she was 9 years old, knew she had the potential to be a stand-out player at Siena.

“Darby is one of the most creative players on the ball I have ever coached,” Paolini says. “Her vision and feel for the game is one of the best I have seen in an SDA uniform.  

“It has been a pleasure to be a part of Darby's development and to see her reach her goal to play in college at the Division I level.” D’Angelo visited the Siena campus in Loudonville and toured the soccer facilities.

“When I met the team, it was really real,” she recalls. “You could tell that all the girls loved each other. They were like best friends. You could tell they were very close.” 

Like many incoming freshmen, D’Angelo was not sure of a major. She took a variety of classes and by sophomore year she had chosen a business major with a concentration in sports marketing. “I want to definitely stick with sports or coaching, and stick with soccer.” 

D’Angelo says having SDA soccer as her foundation prepared her well. She worked hard in training sessions and was rewarded with lots of playing time as a freshman. She even scored two goals in her first year.

She made the MAAC All-Rookie team, and she’s been on the MAAC Academic honor roll. She’s happy at Siena.

D’Angelo admits the demands of school can be hard to balance with soccer. But she’s got another piece of advice: Those lengthy bus rides can be used for study time.

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