Belle Vernon soccer star Izzy Laurita leaving team due to safety concerns

Monday, September 9, 2019 | 11:55 PM

Citing risk of long-term injury, Belle Vernon Area’s Izzy Laurita has walked away from high school soccer.

An All-WPIAL peformer, Laurita was the Leopards’ leading scorer last season with 33 goals and 20 assists, coming off a freshman season with 15 goals and 19 assists. She had four goals in three games this season.

Laurita, who verbally committed to continue playing at Memphis, said she started to think about the possibility of losing her scholarship opportunity if she suffered an injury.

“On Saturday, a player from Yough that I played with at Century (Club) a few years ago was taken to the hospital in an ambulance,” Laurita said. “I remember when Grace (Henderson) spent time in the hospital after a collision in a game against EF.

“I’ve seen a lot more players get hurt in high school soccer than in cup soccer. There is a risk of injury any time you step on the field, but this will help minimize it a little. It’s a risk versus reward situation.”

Laurita turned in her uniform to Leopards coach Tracy Lovett before Saturday’s section game against Ringgold.

“I was very disappointed when Izzy, one of my captains and last year’s leading scorer, decided to quit the team and turn in her uniform,” Lovett said. “I wish Izzy nothing but the best in her future soccer endeavors. She did what she felt was best for her at this time in her life, and we supported her decision. I am sure it was a difficult one.”

Laurita recently won an ECNL national championship with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Development Academy U16 team. She will continue to train there until she graduates in 2021.

“In less than two years I have to go into preseason in the best soccer and physical condition of my life to compete at Memphis,” Laurita said. “At this point, I think think training with the Riverhounds on the field and also with their director of speed and strength, Mike Whiteman, is best for me to be prepared for Division I soccer.”

Laurita said she’ll continue to support her BVA teammates, including her many friends and her sister Gianna. She said she wanted to address the team prior to the Ringgold game, but was not allowed to.

“I sent them all a message telling them why I was leaving the team and wished them good luck. I have some great friends on the team, including my twin sister, so I will still be at the games cheering them on and supporting them,” Laurita said.

Lovett said Laurita will be missed, but the season will go on.

“We will move forward,” she said. “My team is full of talented players who contribute greatly to the overall team successes. I am looking forward to a really great season with this group of girls and am excited to see what they can accomplish as a team.”


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