Juliano commits to Sacred Heart
Senior Erica Juliano likes a little chill in the air. It goes along with the feeling she puts down the spines of opposing forwards who venture into her turf on the soccer field.
Both Juliano and her Northeast Conference counterparts will be experiencing a lot of chills next fall as the senior begins her freshman season at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut.
Juliano was on hand for the recent National Letter of Intent day at Whitehall High School, disclosing her decision to play for the Pioneers, a Division I school inside the Northeast Conference which is home to nine other colleges.
In fact, the cold weather played a factor in her decision since she feels more comfortable playing soccer in the Northeast, something she’s done her whole life. She also liked the laid back atmosphere of the university, a place where neon lights and the bustle from 24-hour supermarkets and shops aren’t constantly intruding on campus life.
“That’s what made it more suitable for me,” said Juliano.
Juliano said that she was invited to visit Sacred Heart after getting noticed at a showcase event in Florida. It was one of the many trips she took as part of Players Development Academy, a club soccer team located in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
She visited the campus and met with team and the coaches, and “fell in love with the place.” It felt like family to her.
Suffice to say, Juliano didn’t get a chilly response. In fact, after learning about the program, Juliano was offered a scholarship.
The Pioneers finished 5-13 last year and will graduate 10 seniors from the program. Matt Micros, who just completed his first season as the Pioneers head coach, told Juliano that her incoming class will be the first step in the rebuilding process.
“He’s hoping for us to be the change,” said Juliano.
What attracted the coaching staff to Juliano was her aggressive play, especially in the air. Juliano has no fear going after balls in the air and describes herself as a “ball winner.” It’s what got Mircos’ attention.
“He said that one of the reasons we’re bringing you in is because of your relentlessness,” said Juliano.
Juliano prides herself on that aspect of her game. It was one of the reasons she was elected to the Eastern Pennsylvania’s Conference first team all-star as a defender. Her other accomplishments include being a 2018 Whitehall High School Scholar Athlete Award winner, and a member of the National Honor Society.
The senior also has plenty of offensive skills, and will join the rush when she sees the opportunity. With her length, she’s also a threat to score on headers from corner kicks as she did last season. She finished 2017 with four goals. While she can put it in the net (7 career goals), her major focus was to win the ball off the corners and get the ball to Kate Bonshak for a scoring opportunity.
Juliano said that she plays with the mindset of controlling the field, seeing the whole field, and winning the balls in the air. She said she’ll bring that with her to the Pioneers as she looks to establish herself as a relentless worker for her new squad.
In fact, Juliano said that her goal is to start as a freshman. She wants to play in as many games as possible, and hopes to contribute for a coach who is looking to build a championship team.
Academics will also be important for Juliano while at Sacred Heart. Juliano said that she will be major in mechanical engineering.
While her senior season didn’t end the way she had hoped, losing two tough overtime games in the postseason, the latter in the district semifinals that eliminated them from the PIAA tourney, she was pleased with how they battled throughout the year.
“I’m actually proud of our team and to be standing with the record we had,” said Juliano.
Her favorite moment as a Zephyr soccer later came this season when they defeated Parkland 3-1. It was such a big hill to climb having never beaten them during her four years as a varsity player, and when they finally clinched the victory, it was truly rewarding.
“It felt like such an accomplishment that we could actually do it,” said Juliano.
Editor’s note: The Press will have signing features on Alyson Peters and Kylie Saliby in upcoming issues.