Erica Ridella refuses to let injuries affect her game performance
Philip Zoppi – General Assignment Reporter
Erica Ridella suffered a catastrophic injury in her senior year of high school. Ridella, now a junior and captain for Southern Connecticut State women’s soccer team, bounced back from the injury quite well.
Ridella injured her middle finger on her left hand before she came to Southern. She would later have to have that finger amputated. She refused to let that affect her play in the net as a goalie.
“Once I learned to catch again it didn’t really limit me,” said Ridella. “I just mentally had to push through things and figure out a new way to do certain things.”
In Ridella’s sophomore year she started 18 games for the Owls’, was named an All-New England selection, and was named to the Northeast-10 Conference third team.
Ridella has had a great support system from her coaches Katie DiDio and Adam Cohen. They worked with her and made sure she stayed focused during her freshmen year. Her head coach, Adam Cohen, is expecting a lot from his junior goalie.
“I think Erica is right up there with the best in terms of her hard work, tenacity, and she’s just extremely brave,” said Cohen.
Ridella racked up seven shutouts last season including a double overtime shutout victory at Bentley College. Ridella was not satisfied with just seven shutouts, she wanted even more.
“One of my goals is to have more shutouts,” said Ridella. “I need to communicate more with my backline because if the backline is organized we can have a lot of success.”
Ridella’s teammates see a big improvement in her play from year to year as well. Caroline Staudle, Ridella’s roommate and leading scorer for the team last year, thinks Ridella is only going to get better.
“Erica has gotten so much better,” said Staudle. “She had to deal with a lot of adversity with her injury. She had to learn how to catch the ball again and even learn how to punch the ball again.”
Ridella and Staudle credit a lot of their success to Adam Cohen. Ridella respects Cohen because she believes that his faith never waivered in her.
“Coach Cohen has always believed in me,” said Ridella. “He’s always backed me up even when I wasn’t ready to play because of injury.”
Cohen’s belief in Ridella paid off for him last year. With Ridella being named an All-New England selection and to the Northeast-10 Conference third team she quickly became known as one of the better goalies in the Northeast-10 Conference. Ridella hopes she can achieve even greater accomplishments this year.
“It meant a lot to win both of those awards. It just showed me that my hard work is paying off and that if I keep working hard that I might be able to make All American either this year or next year,” said Ridella.
Ridella is also very focused on how the team does this year, not just her. She hopes that the team can get back to the ECAC Championship where she had arguably the best game of her season.
Ridella made six saves and had three consecutive game saving saves in penalty kicks at Adelphi.
With Ridella’s injuries now being behind her she looks to have her best season yet at Southern.
Photo Credit: Philip Zoppi – General Assignment Reporter