Women’s soccer captain Menta always on the move

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via gonyuathletics.com

This years women’s soccer captain is Senior Melissa Menta.

Alex Bazeley, News Editor

On the pitch, whether it’s dribbling a ball or leading her teammates, Melissa Menta never stops moving. Off the pitch life isn’t much different, as Menta takes both her studies and soccer all over the world.

“The first time I was on a plane, I was three months old,” Menta said. “My dad is really into traveling, so ever since I was little he really pushed that.”

Now, however, Menta has settled down as the captain of the women’s soccer team. Coming from Westchester, New York, she’s been playing soccer since she was four, and helped lead her high school team to the state finals for the first time in the history of the school.

Since then, she hasn’t slowed down, traveling to Italy, Brazil and London just to play soccer. She’s also studied abroad in Prague and visited California, Florida and Canada. To Menta, traveling with her various soccer teams has been the opportunity she needed to see a multitude of ways of life.

“The type of soccer they play in different countries is so obvious when you’re playing the other teams,” Menta said. “The conditions that women’s teams play in outside the United States — the fields we played on were dirt. [In Brazil], they were so excited to be playing Americans, and we would trade jerseys after every game.”

As Menta knows all too well, being a leader both on and off the field means stepping up and staying strong in the face of adversity. Her freshman year, she tore her ACL in a game against Washington University in St. Louis. Two years later, at the same field against the same team, she broke her leg after a rough slide tackle from an opponent.

NYU managed a 4-3 win the day of the second injury, as Menta watched the game from the locker room to see then-senior Cami Crawford score four goals — something Crawford told Menta she did just for her. Despite the bad luck, Menta considers that day as one of her favorite memories.

“Being able to leave St. Louis, beating the team that took me down twice, and knowing that my team had my back the whole time, that was something that’s going to resonate with me for a long time,” Menta said.

She’s majoring in sports management, but is not quite sure where that’s going to take her. In the long term she’d like to go to law school — another thing her dad encouraged her to do.

But for now, she’s focusing on soccer: last year, she helped lead the NYU soccer team to their second-ever trip to the DIII NCAA Championship. Despite taking a loss in the first round, Menta insists that it was far from the end of the road for this team, and she has her sights set much higher for this season.

“I really want to make sure that everyone reaches their own personal potential, and if I can bring that out in them, that would be awesome,” Menta said.

A version of this article appeared in the Sept. 8 print edition. Email Alex Bazeley at [email protected]