Clarence’s Randeccio provides Nichols soccer needed leader
Quiet yet confident, the Nichols School senior, in her fourth season with the varsity soccer team, never has to say, ‘I’m the leader,’ her teammates and classmates just give her that respect because she’s earned it.
Randaccio’s leadership skills are needed now more than ever as the Lady Vikings have an influx of new faces thisd season looking for direction. Taking a cue from past leaders, like Catherine Williams, Maya Jackson-Gibson and others, Randaccio, a Clarence native, is more than ready to embrace the role of being the person her teammates count on.
“Honestly it’s fun to be that girl now because I always looked up to them. Now to see the freshmen and sophomores and underclassmen looking up to me-it gives you a good feeling,” Randaccio said. “It makes me work even harder because they expect (me) to lead the team.”
Like any true leader, Randaccio is embracing the role of greater responsibility and said that she again is taking her lead from the teammates she looked up to.
“I think the biggest thing that I can learn from them is leading by example,” she noted. “Whether it be the way to act in school or working hard on the field all the time giving a hundred percent every day. It shows them that’s what’s expected on this team every day.”
Vikings’ head coach Larry Desautels said that Randaccio is the perfect role model for her team because she knows how to communicate with everyone. Randaccio is calm, supportive and as a student of the game, she can articulate the finer points to teammates still trying to find their way.
“Coaches can go out there and say things to kids and the kids may or may not listen because they hear our voices every day,” Desautels said.
“But to have a peer who is a year or two older who understands (the game), then suddenly the kid starts saying (to themselves), ‘oh maybe I should understand, too,’ as opposed to just running around kicking the ball,” he added.
A young Vikings squad has also been hit by the injury bug early on, so there’s been a bit of a dilemma in how to use Randaccio. Up top, Randaccio is one of the top pure scorers in Western New York, but her value in the midfield is also priceless. There, she can not only act as that playmaker, but also hustle back and be a force in the defensive zone.
For Randaccio, it’s simple — whatever the coaches asked of her, she’ll gladly do.
“One of the things Mr. D. always says is we’re not defenders. We’re not forwards. We’re soccer players,” she said. “That’s the attitude I take to my play, too. Wherever they need me that day, that’s where I’m going to play.”
An honor student, Randaccio is an elected member of the Student Council and is one of six students who sit on the committee that is interviewing the candidates to fill the position of headmaster at Nichols School.
Last year, Randaccio was instrumental in organizing a school project called “Home Again.” Working with the Journey’s End Refugees Services, Randaccio and other Nichols students helped raise awareness to the challenges refugees face when they come to this country.
Randaccio used the daily announcements at school to help collect various household items, like lamps and beds, to help a refugee family new to WNY.
“It was awesome because, honestly, in this life we take a lot of things for granted. Especially going to Nichols, we’re extremely privileged to have everything at our finger tips,” Randaccio said. “And these people, they come here to a new country, new language with nothing really, just the clothes on their backs. So it was pretty cool to help provide the rest of the stuff for them.”
Realizing her time with Nichols soccer is winding down, Randaccio, who was part of the 2010 state championship team, said she isn’t sure what the future holds in terms of college.
For now, she’s just savoring the time left with the Big Green. It’s time that she can’t believe has passed so quickly.
“Honestly, I still feel like I’m a junior,” she said. “The feelings don’t change. You go through your (school) years then all of a sudden you’re a senior and it feels like it happened so fast.”