Women’s soccer forward and team captain, Danielle Perri is one of the most passionate and energetic players that the school has; but almost gave up the sport completely.
As a little girl, Perri grew up in Commack, New York where she learned how to love and play the game of soccer. At an early age of three, she learned the game from her older brother, Dean, who taught her the basic skills of the game.
“I’m nineteen now and he is still my trainer. I always seek advice from him after games, I always want to improve” Perri said.
Growing up she describes playing for the same club team her whole life, the “Commack Crushers” who have since became the “HBC Crushers”. She explains how she loves the team and some of the challenges she faced.
“All the girls were a year or two older than me and it was a great way for me to play at a higher level, and to experience challengers that would help me prepare for my future as a soccer player,” Perri added.She also continues to include her love and passion for the game itself.
“I think I loved the game before I even knew what the “game” was. Watching my brother play made me love the game and that was shown from how I grasped onto soccer so fast. My main reason for the love of the game is being able to express myself. I love being energetic and passionate. Soccer is my way to relieve stress and have fun,” Perri said.
After starting to play with her club team for a number of years, Perri went on to play for the Commack school district. As a freshman, she made the varsity squad, but suffered a serious setback on the last day of tryouts.
Perri rehashed an injury she suffered first in middle school,”I was diagnosed with an avulsion fracture to my left hip…I wouldn’t be able to play until midway through the season, but my coach didn’t mind” Perri mentions.
After months of rehab, Perri finished out her freshman season with her head held high on the varsity squad looking for a promising sophomore season. She continued to play for her club team during the summer, to work on her skills and improve her all-around game. Then in September of 2009, she again had another major setback, she tore her ACL. An ACL injury is one of the hardest to recover from as an athlete, which usually takes anywhere from six months to two years for the ACL to properly heal. Some notable athletes who have torn their ACL are Tiger Woods, Derek Rose, Adrian Peterson, and most recently Darelle Revis.
“It was a rainy day, with sticky mud…I went up for a 50/50 ball, when I jumped up my left knee stuck to the ground from the mud and when I landed my ACL tore in half. I knew right away it was a serious injury…I tried to walk it off, my knee just kept giving out” Perri describes.
After an MRI revealed she had torn her ACL, Dr. Stephen J. Nicholas of Commack performed surgery. After the surgery, Perri spent the next nine months rehabbing and trying to get back into playing condition to once again step on the field. Even after recovery though, Perri was not the same.
“I gave soccer up for two years after everything I did for those nine months to get back. I always had the heart and desire to play, I just got caught up with concentrating on school and working,” Perri said. “When I came to Suffolk, I saw a sign for the women’s soccer team. I immediately emailed Coach Christina McMahon. Without her, I do not believe I would be playing soccer. She encouraged me, just like she does with everyone and brought me back to the soccer player I knew I always was…When I tore my ACL, I thought everything I had ever dreamed of regarding soccer would never happen…Here I am now. I am a proud player for Suffolk”, Perri adds, “I guess some dreams never die”.
Although Perri has overcome multiple injuries over her playing career, she remains focused on not personal achievements, but team accomplishments. Last season she was awarded, “The Coaches” award and this year she was named captain, but she notes,
“Personal awards are not what I play for. I play for a team championship; that is the greatest award that can be given”.
So far this season, the Sharks have posted a (1-4) overall record, but won their first two scrimmage games of the season for a total of three wins. The overall win total is already better than all of last season. Perri encourages all readers and fans to come out and support the sharks at their next home game, vs. Howard Community College on September 29 at 1pm.