Newman really kicks off soccer season

The Petrina family really gets a kick out of soccer.

Andrea Petrina, a talented striker for the Cardinal Newman senior girls’ high school team, spoke of her relatives and their love of the sport before Monday’s (April 22) season-opening Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association soccer game at Redeemer University College.

Petrina, as it turned out, scored the first goal on a breakaway as Newman cruised to a 5-0 victory over the Cathedral Gaels.

Andrea Petrina handling the ball for Cardinal Newman, en route to a 5-0 win. (Photo: Gerry Graham)

“Soccer has always been a big part of our lives,” Petrina said. “It’s very important to us. It’s what shapes our family. It bonds us.

“We have a bunch of indoor teams. We play with uncles and cousins. It’s a good way to stay together.”

And there’s certainly a lot of talent on the field for those contests.

Petrina’s father, Slavko, excelled for Dinamo of the Yugoslav First League. He also suited up as a midfielder for the Hamilton Steelers of the Canadian Professional Soccer League.

“The dad was a fantastic soccer player,” said Gerry Moretuzzo, the current senior boys’ soccer coach at Newman. “He was a Hamilton legend in the 1970s and ’80s.”

Andrea’s older brother, Nick, initially made his mark with championship minor soccer club teams in Saltfleet. He then helped the Cardinal Newman Express roll to city high school championships and a bronze medal at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations level.

Nick, 23, had a brief 1 1/2 year stint as a player in Europe before returning to the university ranks in Canada. Last November, he was utilized as a defender for the most successful team in the history of Cape Bretons Capers soccer – they won a silver medal at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships in Quebec City, falling 1-0 to the UBC Thunderbirds in the final.

Then there’s Andrea’s cousin. Striker Adam Petrina, of Grimsby, played for the Mohawk Mountaineers and was a two-time league all-star in 2010 and 2011.

Adam and Nick were teammates with Hamilton Croatia of the Hamilton and District Soccer Association’s Senior Men’s Elite Division team last summer.

Andrea, 17, is a Grade 11 student. She’s coming off a 2012 campaign in which she scored the lone goal in overtime as Newman edged the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves, 1-0, for the HWCAA title at Ivor Wynne Stadium. And most recently, she was a constant threat for the Cardinals indoor team which took the St. Mary Crusaders to an overtime shootout in the city final.

Petrina only stayed for the first half of Monday’s contest against Cathedral. She left to attend training camp workouts for the national Under-17 team in Toronto.

Her plans for the future? She’s already verbally committed to attend Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, on a soccer scholarship.

Newman girls’ soccer coach Gerry Buordolone raves about Petrina’s playing ability. “Andrea has got all the skills,” Buordolone said. “She can shoot with both feet and has great ball control. She keeps getting better every year. She’s the complete package.”

Speedy Petrina was a member of the Burlington Bayhawks, winners of both the 2012 Ontario Cup and the national Under-16 championship in Charlottetown, P.E.I. At that national tournament, Petrina was the leading scorer with nine goals. And for her efforts, she received the Burlington Youth Soccer Club’s Female Player of the Year Award. Said Buordolone: “She has a lot of promise. The sky is the limit for her.”

In addition to Petrina’s marker against the Gaels, the defending HWCAA champions got two goals by Chelsea Clifford and singles by Kristen Farkas and Maia De Graff.

Buordolone expects a successful season for the Cardinals.

“I think it looks promising,” he said. “We have a young team, combined with a good chunk of the starters back from last year. There are a lot of good teams in this league, but we’re always in the mix for a championship.”

And there’s one other element that Petrina brings to the team, thanks to her family members.

“We’re all of the same mentality when we come on to the field,” she said. “We don’t like to lose. We’re a competitive family. I would do anything to win.”