They are freshmen. They are fierce competitors. They strive to win. But most of all, they are Americans.
Oh, and they’re twins. The wide smiles say it all. Emma and Isabella Romano are the ultimate tandem. The youngest of five girls in the Romano family are committed to sports just like they are to their country.
As freshmen, they’ve already excelled on the soccer field, becoming instant stars for the Syosset High School Braves. Simply put: They aren’t the usual girls varsity soccer players. As freshmen, they just committed to play soccer at the U.S. Naval Academy starting in 2022.
While it seems far away, this is a major accomplishment for the Romano sisters. Their father, Vinny Romano, is their biggest supporter, constantly making sure his twin daughters have all of the tools they need to succeed.
“Emma has no problem adapting to the technical, tactical, physical and psychological demands of the any game,” U.S. Developmental Academy Coach Michael Caputo said. “Isabella has the versatility and flexibility to play effectively in almost every position on the field.”
U.S. Naval Academy’s Carin Gabbara, coach of the Division I women’s team, hand-picked the twins to join her squad, once they are admitted to the academy.
Now that the twins are already committed to not only play soccer, but also serve their nation, they focus on living in the moment. The Tribune spoke with both Emma and Isabella (Bella), discussing their decision, what it means to be an American and much more.
Q: What does it mean to you to already be committed to the U.S. Naval Academy?
Emma: I am very proud of my accomplishment. I have worked extremely hard, both on the soccer field and in the classroom. I also realize that there is still a great deal of hard work ahead of me. I am honored that coach Gabbara has selected me and my twin sister to represent the Naval Academy on the soccer field in 2022 once I gain admittance.
Bella: I still can’t believe that my sister Emma and I have been given the opportunity to commit to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. I know that it is a great accomplishment, and I plan on continuing to work hard each and every day to prove to my family and my coaches that I can do great things with the amazing opportunity that I have been given.
Q: Why choose the US Naval Academy?
Emma: I chose the Naval Academy because it will give me the best opportunity to make a difference in this world. I know that if I can dream it, I can become it. Former graduates of the Naval Academy have gone on to do great things. Just like former Navy women’s soccer team captain Nicole Aunapu Mann, who was an F18 fighter pilot and is currently a NASA astronaut.
Bella: I take my studies and soccer very seriously. I know that attending the U.S. Naval Academy will allow me to be teammates and classmates with others who think and work as hard as I do. I also feel that graduating from such a prestigious and storied institution will help me make a difference in this world.
Q: How has soccer at Syosset High School helped each of you grow as an individual on and off the field?
Emma: I have been playing soccer at the highest level since I was a little girl. But playing soccer at Syosset High School made me have a newfound level of appreciation for the game. Starting high school and playing varsity soccer as a freshman was a scary thought. Those fears were immediately put to rest after meeting my teammates. I hope to mentor incoming freshman just as the upperclassmen did for me.
Bella: Winning Syosset High School’s first-ever Class AA1 championship was the icing on the cake of a memorable freshman year. But having the opportunity to be around such a great group of teammates was truly unbelievable. We’re thankful to Syosset High School Principal John Durante, Legislator Joshua Lafazan and to coach John Calabria for always being our team’s biggest fans.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about the U.S. Naval Academy?
Emma: I’m looking forward to giving my all and showing others that if you work hard and trust yourself, your dreams can come true. After visiting the Naval Academy for my cousin Michael’s graduation ceremony several years ago, I realized then that’s where I want to play soccer and receive my education. After committing last month, I am one step closer to my dream becoming a reality.
Bella: I am looking forward to continue doing my part in being the best person, student and teammate. I know that after graduating the Naval Academy, I will be a U.S. Naval Officer, just like my cousin, Michael Romano. Like him, I want to continue to make my family proud and to inspire others to do great things. I know that the Naval Academy will challenge me and I am looking forward to that challenge. I also can’t wait to say #GoNavyBeatArmy.
Q: What does it mean to you to already be committed to such a prestigious American institution?
Emma: I still can’t believe it. I am so proud that I will one day be able to add my name to the list of great Americans that attended this storied institution. My father and uncles chose to serve the public and have given so much on 9/11 and the years afterward. I hope to continue our families legacy and continue to make my mom and dad proud. I love them both so much.
Bella: I cannot express how proud I am that Emma and I have been given this great opportunity to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. And to be given the opportunity as a high school freshman is such a great accomplishment that would not have been possible without the love and support of my parents.