Former Foxboro Star Set To Finish UConn On A High Note

Gianna Roma

Foxboro alum Gianna Roma has been a staple for the UConn Huskies (UConn Athletics/Photo).
By Josh Perry, Managing Editor
Heading into her final months as a college soccer player, former Foxboro High star Gianna Roma hopes to end her career at the University of Connecticut with a conference title and a trip to the NCAA tournament.
“I know we’re favorites up near the top and with a lot of returning players offensively and defensively,” said Roma by phone last week the day after UConn began its season with a 1-0 win over Hofstra. “So, I think we can definitely go further than we have my first three years.”
She added, “I’m definitely excited. I mean, it’s crazy to think that I’m already in my fourth year here.”
Roma has been a three-year starter for the Huskies at outside back, while also seeing time in a defensive midfield role. She has seen the pitch 49 times over the past three years and last season was named to the American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team.
While at Foxboro High, Roma was a two-time team MVP, two-time Hockomock League all-star, and was named the MVP of The Sun Chronicle all-star game in her senior season. She also led the Warriors in scoring each of her final two seasons on the team.
When asked what her favorite moment in a Foxboro jersey was, Roma reflected on her hat trick against Ursuline, but settled on her entire junior season and the teammates that she had during her high school career.
“It was just a good bunch and we really worked well together and I scored a lot of goals,” she reflected.

Gianna Roma(UConn Athletics/Photo)

Roma also enjoyed the “special” experience of playing with one of her sisters each year that she was a Warrior. Her older sister Mariella went on to play field hockey at Fitchburg State and Olivia played soccer at Johnson and Wales. Of course, her younger sister Danielle has also moved on to play Division I soccer as a freshman this fall at the University of Massachusetts.
“We started playing sports in kindergarten,” said Roma. “It’s always been a part of my family as long as I can remember.”
In addition to playing at Foxboro, Roma also played 12 years of club soccer with the successful SC Scorpions, which won three state titles and two regional titles. Before her sophomore season at UConn, Roma was named state tournament MVP as the Scorpions advanced to the national title game only to lose on penalties in the final.
Her time with the Scorpions, which began in first grade, coincided with a group of talented players like Sam Mewis of Hanson, Mass., who went on to play at UCLA and was recently awarded her first cap with the U.S. Women’s National Team. All of this provided the platform for Roma to begin her collegiate career.
“It’s definitely a lot different,” said Roma about the transition to college soccer. “Fitness is really more stressed at this level and very different from Foxboro. But, I was prepared after playing with a great group of girls at Foxboro and I had club on the side too.”
Roma, who said that the recruiting process began her sophomore year, chose UConn out of a group of schools that included Providence College, Rutgers, Boston University and UMass. She explained, “I think in the end I wanted to be a nutritionist and I wanted to be at a big school and I liked the team here, they were really welcoming, and I like the atmosphere here. Sports are taken very seriously here.”
But her recruitment did not guarantee her a spot on the team. She had to work to get earn her position and was able to start 14 games her first season in Storrs. That is a message that she has passed on to her younger sister, Danielle, this summer.
“I told her that as long as she worked hard she would be given an opportunity and she would do well,” said Roma. “Going to UConn, my first year, I was definitely considered an underdog. I wasn’t expected to be starting and playing almost every minute, but I worked hard extremely hard and [Danielle] knows I did because I had her come out here.”
The two sisters speak frequently, in fact they had spoken just a little while before the interview, and Gianna is rooting for Danielle to make an impact at UMass. She said, “She likes it so far; she just recently passed their fitness test and she’s been playing all over. I told her if she worked hard then she could have a great freshman season.”
Entering her final year, Roma sees the potential of this year’s squad, which is 2-0 after a come from behind 2-1 win over Navy on Sunday, and is excited about the chance to help the team reach the goals that it is determined to achieve this fall. Of course, she would also like to make her mark another way was well.
She laughed, “Personally, I’d like to leave here with at least a goal, but it’s not that easy playing ‘D.’”
Roma continued, “Our coach is really stressing fitness but almost our whole team came in and passed the test, so things are looking good for everyone…We have a great group of girls and we can definitely work together and can go as far as we want. We have the potential to finish where we want to be.”
“Going into my last fall, I’m not going to hold anything back.”
Josh Perry can be contacted at and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Ryan Lanigan
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