When the St. John’s women’s soccer team needed a leader on offense, in stepped Christina Bellero. The junior nearly doubled her scoring productivity from her sophomore campaign, registering a team-high 17 points this fall.
A regular guest of the All-Big East Weekly Honor Roll this season, Bellero led the team in goals, finished second in assists and recorded three game-winning tallies to push the Red Storm to the precipice of the postseason.
St. John’s concluded their season following a 1-0 loss to DePaul on Oct. 26 with an overall record of 8-9-1 and a conference record of 4-5.
— St. John's WSoccer (@StJohnsWSoccer) October 16, 2017
“I would say our last season, it went pretty well, it was okay,” Bellero said when reflecting on the team’s 2016 season. “I thought in the beginning we did well and then towards the middle we kind of had a few losses in there, then towards the end we started winning again. But then that last game we just couldn’t pull through to win to get to the finals.”
This season, Bellero credited her individual success to the hard work and effectiveness of the team’s midfielders, saying how the dynamics of the team played a role in her success on the field.
“I think it helped a lot because we all work so well together,” she said. “Especially when it came to connecting with the midfield. They always found that ball through to me and it ended up working out because I ended up scoring off of it.”
Bellero also took several steps on her own to enhance her playing during the off-season. She mentioned playing with the Long Island Rough Riders, a New York FC affiliate to “keep her touch.”
“[I did] a lot of playing over the summer,” she said. “I worked out a lot to stay in shape so that when I came in, I was ready. And I just gained more confidence. I knew I had to step up for the team and help with the attacking side of it. So I went for it and ended up scoring a lot of goals.”
Bellero’s confidence on the field stems from her competitive and focused nature. She is a true team player who, in her own words, tries to do whatever she can to help the team win.
Over the years, the soccer program has produced other great players at Bellero’s position like Rachel Daly and Jen Leaverton, who were both major goal scorers for the Johnnies during their tenures.
“I think seeing Rachel’s success [my] freshman year was a good motivation for me because I wanted to be that successful and help the team out that much when I got older” she said of Daly, now a star for the Houston Dash of the National Women’s Soccer League.
“Jen has helped me a lot as a coach,” she added of Leaverton. “Just every day at practice, and just keeping my confidence up. She’s a natural goal scorer so she’s helped me a lot with that and finding opportunities to get shots off to score goals.”
Looking to the offseason and next year, Bellero plans to continue the wave of success. Her willingness to work hard as a team player coupled with her love for the game has provided fertile ground for her to grow into the successful athlete she is today.
“I’m just going to keep pushing hard, keep myself in shape and then in the spring season try to just keep the team chemistry even better and just work hard to prepare myself for next fall,” Bellero said.
After seeing previous Red Storm players’ achievements, she aspires to play professionally if the opportunity presents itself.
“You know, that would be amazing,” Bellero said. “But, I guess I’ll just see what happens with that. Hopefully, after [college], I will still get to play, or at least be involved somehow.”