When faced with the question of who their athletic role model is many soccer players' answers fit the status quo - Christian Ronaldo, Pele, Wayne Rooney, and the list goes on. But Spartan Midfielder Melissa Mobilio instead prefers to keep it in the family and does not have to think twice before citing her late-cousin and Vancouver 86ers/Whitecaps striker Domenic Mobilio as her source of inspiration throughout her soccer career.
Growing up in Coquitlam, B.C., Melissa's life revolved around soccer. When she wasn't on the field herself she was either working at their family-run soccer store or she was out watching any number of her family members play, in particular her older cousin and role-model Domenic.
"He became a part of my whole life when I was younger," Melissa says of Domenic, who suddenly passed away from a heart attack almost five years ago. "I would often go and watch him play and then he coached my club and high school teams. He was everywhere and all I ever wanted was to be like him."
Domenic was instrumental in guiding Melissa through many significant parts of her soccer career, including a U-14 national title and a U-16 bronze medal at nationals with her club team, the Coquitlam Wild. While the U-16 season marked her last victory with Domenic by her side, Melissa pressed onwards leaving her mark on the National Training Centre program, the U-17 Whitecaps Prospects, the Whitecaps Reserve Team, and most recently the Women Whitecaps team.
As she transitioned into life as a Spartan last year Melissa had an immediate impact on the Canada West, the team and on the stats books finishing the season with 0.93 shots on goal per game and 0.29 assists per game.
Her influence, however, extends beyond who she is on paper as it is her character and her natural athletic ability that make her truly special. "Melissa is such an important part of our team both on and off the field as she possesses so much of what we want to be about as soccer players and as people," says Head Coach Graham Roxburgh. "She has excellent vision and technical ability which makes her dangerous against other teams...I believe that she will go on to much greater heights in the months and years to come."
Despite her already impressive soccer resume, Melissa intends on continuing down the same road Dominic did as a soccer player with an ultimate goal of representing Canada on the world stage. "I would love to make the national team and have our last name and his number (ten) on my back as I represent our country just like he did," she says. "When I play, I play for him. He was my biggest role model and my harshest critic. The lessons he taught me are a large part of the reason I am here today and for that I will be forever grateful."
Last Updated: 2008-10-14
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