It might be something in the water but Long Island seems to produce some top quality goalkeepers on a regular basis. For the second time this spring, a product of the Long Island Rough Riders’ system has been called into a US Women’s National Team camp. UWS goalkeeper and St. John’s University standout, Diana Poulin, has recently returned from her national experience and now has some extra motivation (and advice for her fellow Rough Riders) going into the 2016 season.
“When you get a little older, you have to take responsibility for your own development. As much as you put in is what you are going to get out of it”, said Poulin, a Rough Riders player since her early teens. “It goes for college and high school players as well: you have to work on your weaknesses and maintain your strengths to become as strong as possible. That was reinforced at the national team camp.”
Poulin follows Stephanie Sparkowski (U14) as the second Rider keeper to get called to a national camp this year. Both are products of the mentorship of Meghan Frey, a former goalkeeper and head coach in the Rough Riders’ youth program. Both Sparkowski and Poulin have paid homage to Frey and other coaches in the Riders’ program for their tutelage during the formative years.
“I’ve played here since I was 15 or 16, about six years. I played under Megan Frey in high school. I’ve trained with Peter Zaratin in the past and ran some goalkeeper sessions with him”, said the UWS keeper, hoping to make her season debut this weekend against New Jersey Copa FC. “I’m always happy to play for the Rough Riders during the summer.”
Despite her rich experience, Poulin did admit to some nerves while working with national team coach, Dawn Siergiej, and elite caliber players from across the country. But after a quick adjustment, she felt the experience truly enhanced her confidence and she returns to the Rough Riders a better keeper as a result.
“The training sessions were hard and I was a little nervous initially. You wouldn’t think that it was a level up from the college level but it’s some of the best players in the country so when they all come together, it raises the bar a little. It was tough to get used to but the more you play, the more comfortable you get and arrive at that level. I met some really nice people who are also really great soccer players.”
Rough Rider fans can come meet a lot of really nice, really great players this summer as they open their first campaign in UWS. Tickets and schedules are available now at http://220.127.116.11/~liroughriders/tickets/buy-now/