No limits on Venkataraman
No limits on Venkataraman
NORTH SMITHFIELD - She's only 13 and is already one of the most sought-after female soccer players in Rhode Island.
Vanessa Venkataraman, daughter of Srini and Suzanne Venkataraman, has already been invited to attend three U.S. Soccer Federation Olympic developmental camps and is by far the leading scorer on her North Smithfield Middle School soccer team.
She attended the Olympic Development Program camp held at the University of Rhode Island during the summer, attended by 600 girls from 15 states, and was selected to participate in the Region 1 pool in her age group.
She will be attending a Region 1 soccer training event in Buffalo, N.Y., in December, and has also been invited to attend her third U.S. Soccer Federation training camp later this month.
While she is a three-sport athlete at her school, also playing basketball and softball, where she was the starting pitcher a season ago, Venkataraman favors soccer as her top sport.
"I'm very excited that I was selected to the Region 1 soccer pool team from the Region 1 ODP camp and then selected to attend a soccer event in Buffalo," she said. "I am also thrilled to have been selected to attend U.S. Soccer Federation training events, and I'm working hard to be selected for the national team for my age group."
She is also a member of the Bayside FC Premiere soccer team and was one of two girls selected to participate in the U.S. Soccer Federation training events as a result of her performance for that team.
Nelson Teixeira, coach of the girls U-14 Bayside team, had high praise for Venkataraman.
"I have coached Vanessa for two years and she is very passionate about the game and she also has the game to prove it," Teixeira said. "She is very technical, fast and athletic.¬?Her ability to read the game and play at a fast pace with quality is what impresses me the most about her.¬?I'm not surprised that she was ID at the ODP camp. She has all the tools of being a very good player."
While she spends much of her time on athletic fields and basketball courts, Venkataraman makes certain to put an emphasis on her studies, and is a high honors student.
She has high expectations moving forward, and hopes soccer is a big part of her future.
"Soccer is a big part of my life," she said. "I work my hardest to improve as a player at all times. I know there is always room for improvement. My long-term goal is to play for a Division 1 college team and maybe a professional team after that."
She credits the coaching and training that she has received from her school, recreation league and Premiere program mentors for her success.