Grande a standout on and off the field

Carson Chapel and Paul Kercher

 

Junior Adrianna Grande has earned the spotlight as the starting goalie for the girls soccer team, but she has an even bigger impact off of the field with an organization called the Friendship Circle. 

Grande is a member of the teen board of the Friendship Circle, which is a non-profit organization where she works with kids with special needs.   

“The main goal of the Friendship Circle is to spread inclusion in the city of Pittsburgh,” Grande said.

Some of the group’s programs include a cooking club, a virtual meetings program, and a program called Friendship Shabbat, named after the Jewish day of rest.

“Cooking club is one of our popular programs, where you have a theme and cook food that is related to the theme,” Grande said.

Grande, who joined the Friendship Circle in eighth grade, became interested in the organization through a family member and because she really likes helping.

“My cousin was a staff member and thought I would really enjoy it since I want to become a special ed teacher,” she said. 

The workload is a lot for Grande, but she is able to balance it with school and soccer.

“I usually participate in the Friendship Circle about once or twice a week, but there is also stuff I do online,” Grande said. 

Finding that balance is essential this year especially, since she now is the starting girls soccer goalie.

“I was finally happy to get the role, but I couldn’t focus on making mistakes because I had to prove myself,” Grande said.

Grande started playing soccer when she was 4 years old, and found her position in an unusual way. 

“Goalie has always been my thing, because when I was younger I hated running. So I was put at goalie and fell in love with it,” Grande said. 

Grande’s dad is her role model because he knows what it is like to want to play at another level. 

“My dad knows what it takes to be an athlete, since he played Division I hockey, so him being knowledgeable at a team sport helps me get through rough times in soccer. He also knows what it takes to get to the next level, so I have someone who can help me work on certain skills,” Grande said. 

Something that Grande continually works on is the mental aspect of soccer.

The way I deal with the mental aspect is focusing on the future and not the past. I don’t dwell on previous games, because it won’t help what’s happening in a current game”

— Adrianna Grande

Junior Oliva Seiler, a teammate of Grande who has played with her for 10 years, saw the dedication and hard work from cup teams outside of school.

“The cup games were where I saw the most dedication. But I think the true moment that I understood her dedication was when she had to start bringing a change of clothes to her games from how muddy she got diving and leaving her whole heart on the field,” Seiler said.

Freshman Mary Vargo sees how Grande contributes to the Baldwin team. 

“Adrianna brings the energy up if we are down. We can count on her to boost us back up and get our heads in the game,” Vargo said. 

Grande plans to try to play soccer in college, such as at a Division II or III school.