If you didn’t recognize the number on the lineup, you would never know it was Keara Pizzaro.
Pizzaro is a sophomore center-midfielder on the St. Hubert High School soccer team, and away from the field, she’s shy and quiet.
On the field, you can hear her from miles around.
“I’ve always been a lot louder when I’m playing sports,” said Pizzaro, who is playing for the first time this year for the Bambies. “When I’m playing soccer, I have my game face on.
“When and my teammates (stay focused) we will all do our best. I step on the field, I’m not shy like I am off the field. I go into every game believing in myself and my teammates that we will all do our best. My parents are the people who support me the most, always encouraging me on and off the field.”
Pizzaro has become a top player for the Bambies and is helping the team get back to their winning ways after a rare losing season last year.
After dropping their first game of the year against Archbishop Wood, the Bambies thumped Hallahan 2-0 to even their Catholic League record at 1-1. Pizzaro netted both goals in the win over Hallahan, giving the girls on the team reason to believe they can be competitive this year in the Catholic League.
It also made a winner out new coach Nettie Graziosi-Hibbs, who took over this year after Mickey McGroarty, the only coach in the history of the program, retired at the end of last year. This was Graziosi-Hibbs’ first Catholic League victory as the coach.
They know hard work pays off. But they also know it will take a lot of work to turn this year’s squad into a contender in the always-tough league.
Pizzaro credits the entire team for the early success and believes more wins are right around the corner.
“We are playing much better because we’re playing together,” Pizzaro said. “We work really hard. And our coach is very encouraging. We all play hard together and we try to win as a team. I think that’s why we’re playing pretty good so far, but we still have to get better. We aren’t there yet.
“I love playing for (Grazisoi-Hibbs) because she wants to win. She helps us so much. She has us playing better than I thought we would because she’s so positive and she teaches us a lot about the game.”
Pizzaro isn’t the only one in her family to be a star soccer player.
Her sister Celeste is a junior center back. Her older sister Ava now plays at Rutgers-Camden. She starred at St. Hubert before graduating in 2018.
And her youngest brother Dane is in eighth grade. He plans on playing soccer next year at Father Judge.
Her two older brothers Shane, 25, and Pat, 20, liked soccer, but didn’t play in high school.
At home, talk often turns to soccer, and now that the girls are teammates, it often turns to Bambies soccer.
“My dad loves soccer, I’m like him, but I’m definitely a lot shier than he is,” Pizzaro said. “My whole family loves soccer, though. My dad got most of us involved in soccer when we were young. I think I’m having a lot of fun because I’m getting to play with my sister.
“I like playing for St. Hubert because I’m getting to play with my friends. I like representing the school. St. Hubert means a lot to me, and I like playing for them and with my teammates.”
That’s why she plays the way she does.
Pizzaro has the talent to be a good player in the Catholic League.
But what makes her an elite-level player is her desire to be the best on the field.
She doesn’t talk about herself as a stud player, but she does admit to giving the sport everything she has every time she steps on the field.
“I love playing and I want to do well, so I do think I work as hard as I can at all times,” Pizzaro said. “I push myself as much as I can. I do it because I want to play my best. I do it for my teammates and my team. We really want to do well and if I push myself to be the best and everyone else does, we’ll have a good chance at playing our best.”
That’s the goal.
If the Bambies play to their potential, Pizzaro believes this could be a fun one for her and her teammates.
“We’re playing pretty well, but we can get a lot better,” Pizzaro said. “I think we can win a lot of games if we play the way we can. We need to get better, but everyone is working really hard.
“We’re having fun, too. It’s going to be a good year. I think it could be a very good year if things go the way we’re capable of playing. We could be a good team.”