Michela Paradiso is in the midst of her final season on the Ohio State women’s soccer team, but her journey to this point began long before the forward ever stepped onto the pitch for the Buckeyes.
Paradiso turned to soccer at a young age and has been in love with the game ever since.
“I started playing soccer when I was 3 years old,” Paradiso said. “It was really because I wasn’t very good at ballet. I loved being a part of a team and being with girls and just working hard.”
Although Paradiso’s love for soccer always existed, choosing where she was to play collegiately was not an easy decision. A native of Columbus suburb Upper Arlington, Paradiso chose to stay close to home.
“I realize that family is such a big part of my life and I wanted them to be able to be here and watch me play every week,” Paradiso said. “I have four sisters and they all come and support me, and I love being close to home and them all wearing their Ohio State gear.”
Paradiso sits tied for fifth in OSU history with 16 assists. She’s a star on the soccer field but her hard work does not stop there.
“I want to go to (medical) school when I’m done here, so it’s been hard to balance both,” she said. “But I try to put my absolute best in both aspects of my life. I think I’ve finally learned in my senior year how to make that happen.”
Paradiso attributes much of her success on the field and in the classroom to her teammates.
“It’s definitely tough, but I have great teammates that support me and understand when I need to study and push me on the soccer field, so it’s great to be a part of a team like ours,” she said.
A bevy of mixed emotions might enter student-athletes’ minds when they know it is their final season in college, but Paradiso’s outlook is to remain positive.
“I’ve tried to treat every game like it’s my absolute last game. So if I leave it all out there I won’t have any regrets when my career comes to an end,” she said. “I just try to treat every game like it’s my last chance.”
Paradiso was named OSU’s captain before the season, alongside senior defender Morgan Wolcott, who is currently sidelined due to injury. She said Wolcott is “such a talented player” and that seeing her on the sideline has inspired the team.
“We’ve just tried to be playing for her on the sideline and know that we’re going to give our best effort for her sake,” Paradiso said. “I can’t wait until she’s back on the field.”
Being named team captain is an honor that not many athletes can claim, and Paradiso said she is humbled and grateful for the chance to don a “C” on her kit.
“It means so much to me because there’s been so many great soccer players before me here at Ohio State that have been captain that I’ve looked up to,” Paradiso said. “Since I was a little girl, I came to these games. I have so much pride for what it means to be a Buckeye.”
As an end to the women’s soccer team’s regular season is in sight, Paradiso said she hopes she is remembered for one thing in competing for the Scarlet and Gray: her passion.
“I just hope people realize how much passion I have for the game and when you’re out there you need to be showing your heart and your passion and respecting the game by giving your absolute best every time.”
Paradiso and the rest of the Buckeyes are set to continue conference play on Thursday against Rutgers in Piscataway, New Jersey. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.