In UNC soccer's top-25 matches against Virginia and Florida State in late September, Tori DellaPeruta didn't play.
In fact, she wasn't even in the United States at the time.
DellaPeruta was competing for the U23Italian national team in Italy and Sweden. DellaPeruta, who has dual Italian American citizenship, has been competing for Italy since the age of 17.
It certainly wasn't easy for Anson Dorrance and the Tar Heels to have lost a player of her caliber in the middle of a critical stretch of the season. Dorrance jokingly called it a "pain in the rear end." But the UNC head coach agrees the experience will be important for DellaPeruta — the 2021 National USA Today High School Girls Soccer Player of the Year — in the long run.
“I’m incredibly proud of the fact that Italy does want her, and they should want her," Dorrance said. "Her game has taken a big jump in the last year. She is much more consistent now and she is incredibly creative and clever, and her movement in the attacking box is professional level already.”