By KEVIN OKLOBZIJA
For now, Dori Rizzo is quite happy to be helping to change the fortunes of the Rochester Lady Lancers.
In the future, however, she intends to help change the country and, in the process, the planet through a career in politics.
Just 16, Rizzo is completing her junior year of high school at Our Lady of Mercy, with her senior season on the soccer pitch still to come, but she is also looking well into the future.
When she finishes at Mercy, she will attend American University in Washington, D.C., to play soccer and study political science and pre-law, with a law degree the ultimate educational goal.
Then comes the real work. Rizzo has every intention of becoming involved in the political machine. Except she doesn’t want to become lost in the swamp. She intends to be a beacon of light.
“I’m really interested in changing the world,” Rizzo said after Sunday’s 1-1 draw with the Long Island Rough Riders. “There are a lot of problems in the world, a lot of problems with the way government works.
“We have a divided government; you’re either republican or democrat. Both parties have some good things to offer but they get too involved in politics instead of humanity.”
Rizzo said her older brother, Frankie, is her inspiration. He’s a member of the United States Army.
“He didn’t go into the Army to fight the bad guys, he went in to help the world,” she said.
Attending American University will give her a close-up look at how Washington, D.C., operates while also providing an NCAA Division I soccer experience in the Patriot League.
But first things first. There’s the summer season with the Lady Lancers in United Women’s Soccer. The Fairport resident missed the first three games due to commitments with her youth team in the premier Elite Clubs National League.
On Sunday she started at forward against the Rough Riders and in just the third minute had a great chance to score with a shot from the box. Goalkeeper Kelsey Daugherty smothered the attempt.
Early in the second half Rizzo had another good chance but didn’t get enough of the shot and Daugherty had no difficulty making the save.
“I kind of got around them a little weak,” she said of the shots. “I feel if I had gotten around them a little stronger, I could have put them in.”
The introduction to UWS was good, though.
“Some of these girls are 23, 25 years old so I was a little nervous about playing against older players for the first time,” she said. “I think practicing with them has helped me fit in, but I was nervous to play against them.”
Rizzo was often on the attack alongside Brooke Barbuto, the former professional who has played in Iceland, Finland and Australia. Barbuto scored the Rochester goal on a penalty kick in the 26th minute.
“It was a cool experience to play with an older, experienced player,” Rizzo said.
While still in the prime of her teenage years, Rizzo has dreams well beyond soccer.
“People think I’m crazy but I would love to be president,” she said, “and the coolest job in the world would be secretary of state because you’re dealing with the political side but you’re also making change internationally.”
The Rochester Lady Lancers played well enough to win but had to settle for a 1-1 draw with the Long Island Rough Riders on Sunday afternoon on the pitch of Charlie Schiano Sr. Field at Marina Auto Stadium.
Brooke Barbuto scored on a penalty kick in the 26th minute but Laura Gomez scored the tying goal in the 73rd minute.
The Lady Lancers are 1-1-2 while Long Island, a 5-2 winner on Saturday at the Western New York Flash, are 1-1-1.
“Coming off a 4-0 loss last weekend and playing a team 1-1 shows the character this team has,” coach Sal Galvano said. “We made one mistake and it cost us.”
The Lady Lancers outshot the Rough Riders 10-5 and had several great scoring chances that they couldn’t convert, in large part because of the strong play by Long Island goalkeeper Kelsey Daugherty.
She denied a straight-on shot from Dori Rizzo in the third minute and was always in the right place at the right time in the final 20 minutes when the Lancers applied constant pressure.
“We had chances, many chances,” Galvano said. “Now we just have to get a body part on them to finish those chances.”
The Lady Lancers head downstate next weekend to play a rematch with the Rough Riders Saturday at Hofstra University before ending the trip with a game Sunday against the New York Surf.