Rebecca Desiderio always knew the importance of a well-rounded student-athlete. As Desiderio began her recruiting process she prioritized academics as well as a positive and successful field hockey program. School size, location, and coaching style were also very important.
When Desiderio started visiting and talking with the Wagner coaches there were many things that stood out to her. The Wagner Field Hockey Program is a new Division I program. "The program has a lot of promise, potential, and a bright future. It's already a strong program and I believe with the coaching staff and players it will go a long way." Desiderio also had an immediate connection with the Wagner coach, regarding team goals, team support system, and wanting what is best for players on and off the field. "My conversation with the coach made me confident about my future at Wagner. The coach helped to make my future look clear by what she laid out for us as a team, and individually".
Academics have also always been important to Desiderio. As she visited and learned more about Wagner it was all of the potential academic opportunities that really appealed to her. Wagner is located near New York City and Desiderio feels confident she can utilize the location and will help her to obtain and flourish in academics, internships, and socially. Desiderio hopes to major in journalism, with an English minor. Her dream job would be to work for companies such as NYT, ESPN, or the NHL as a writer, broadcaster, or in a marketing/advertising role.
With Wagner hitting all the checks on Desiderio's wish list, she visited the campus several times with her family. Mom, Dad, Uncle, and both brothers participated in the visits. While they couldn't go into buildings or see a campus full of students due to COVID, Desiderio fell more in love with Wagner with each visit. "It's not too big – it felt like home the minute I stepped on campus".
In fact, after her first visit with her mom, Desiderio committed that night. "It was a really special moment for me and my Mom because we saw all of my hard work pay off and I knew I was meant to be here and be a field hockey player and student-athlete at Wagner." And while COVID has limited what the team can do in person, Desiderio has already met numerous teammates. One of her fellow NJ GRIT FHC teammates is also committed to Wagner, she met her future roommate at NITs, met others at camps and clinics, and of course, has connected with many via social media. "I'm very grateful for social media allowing us to connect, and I am looking forward to meeting all of them in person".
High School/GRIT History
Desiderio grew up in a household full of competitive athletes. Her two brothers, Nick and Matthew, are dedicated and successful, high school, hockey players. In Desiderio's early athletic career, she also spent time on the ice as an Olympic Level figure skater, coached by Olympic champion Viktor Petrenko.
While Desiderio enjoyed skating, it was a very individual sport and the 6 days/week schedule left little time for friendships. As a result, her Mom Jennifer, a former West Essex field hockey player, recommended that Desiderio join the Field Hockey team in 7th grade. At first, Desiderio was not too keen on field hockey, but 2 years later, in 9th grade, it all changed. Desiderio was Captain of the undefeated team, and she decided to hang up her skates and never look back…. A pair of skates that were brand new and cost her Mom $2k, and still hang in the garage.
Throughout Desiderio's high school career, she continued to progress and grow both on and off the field. Desiderio was a starting captain for the West Essex Field Hockey Program her senior year and helped them be back-to-back State champs. Desiderio is always working hard to improve her skills and has a powerful presence on the field.
Her determination to get better and to lift her teammates up is unmatched. When asked what she believed her biggest strength to be, she responded, "Being an advocate for my team. I want them to know they are meant to be on this team for a reason. I want the people around me to have the confidence to play to the best of their ability. I know they have it in them, and I like to bring that out in people. I try to make it as much of a family as possible."
Desiderio thanks her family, friends, coaches, and teammates for helping her throughout this journey, and especially her brothers. "My brothers are always pushing me. I think we are all really competitive athletes and naturally, I was pushed, throughout my life, to become a Division One athlete. It's really cool I get to open this gateway for my brothers. They've always wanted what is best for me and I want the same for them!"
Rebecca, on the Olympic podium, before the 7th grade switch to field hockey.