Gianna Amendola’s love for football dates back to the age of 4. She played in a local soccer league at St. Anthony of Padua in Rocky Point.
“Since then,” she said, “I have loved kicking a ball and scoring goals.”
The fifth-year college player hasn’t stopped since. The Rocky Point senior forward entered Friday’s games tied for first on Long Island in goals (with Longwood’s Brianna Gaunt, 15) and tied for second in points (17, including two assists).
“It’s crazy, this is already my fifth year,” said Amendola, Newsday Athlete of the Week. “I can’t believe how much I accomplished and how much I wanted to keep doing until it was over.”
Rocky Point (8-0 overall, 6-0 in Suffolk Division II) held first place in their league heading into Friday’s games. Amendola has scored at least one goal or assist in every Eagles game so far this season.
“She’s a beast and she’s as tenacious as can be,” said Rocky Point coach Peter Costa. “She’s relentless. Not everyone has the ability to score goals, but she just has a talent.”
Costa also has a knack for making tough decisions. The seventh-year coach decided to have Amendola, Megan Loeser, Lindsey Lucia and Victoria Curreri play in college as eighth-graders.
“At first I would get frustrated against bigger, stronger girls on other teams,” Amendola said, “but I knew I was good and had to keep going.”
She would lead her team in points in eighth grade (eight goals and two assists) and has been the Eagles point leader every season since.
Interestingly, the only person Amendola struggled to hit the back of the net against was his own father, Greg, a former Miller Place goaltender.
“He’s been tough on me,” said the 5-3 Amendola, who is also fighting for Rocky Point. “I couldn’t score against him. I’m very competitive and I was like, ‘I have to beat him. “”
That moment finally came for her when she was 12 years old.
“He said, ‘You have a special talent and you beat me’,” she recalls.
Amendola is not done yet. She has bigger aspirations including an Eagles playoff run and hopefully playing college football. Plus, she could become Rocky Point’s all-time leading soccer scorer.
“It would just mean that I put in a lot of work,” she said, “and I did something great in my community.”