Women of Western Winners: Leslie Iorio
Leslie Iorio is a sophomore from San Ramon Valley high school in California who attended Western Winners in 2021. A tall and rangy athlete, she was on the all-star team at Western Winners last summer.
She has been a top player in California and started to represent the entire west by playing against some of the top clubs in the country. She takes the draw and is a leading scorer for a team that has played against elite competition.
She also comes from quite the athletic background with both of her parents having been high-level athletes themselves. Her father, Mike, played lacrosse at Notre Dame and was a member of the US Under 19 team. Her mom, Ashley, was a national championship soccer player at Notre Dame.
We caught up with Leslie to ask her about her experience at the Western Winners Showcase and how she has benefitted from playing against elite competition at the event:
What is your favorite Western Winners Showcase Memory?
LI: My favorite Western Winners Showcase memory is definitely the at the showcase in the summer of 2021 when I was chosen to participate in the All Star Game. It was my first time making any type of All Star team at a lacrosse camp and it felt good ending the camp on a good note. The game was super competitive, and it was fun playing with my teammates who I haven’t played with in a while. I also enjoyed the camp because it was my first “real” Western Winners experience because the previous year was a COVID year, so it wasn’t the normal camp experience.
How has Western Winners impacted how you approach the recruiting process?
LI: Western Winners impacted me in a positive way because it gave me the opportunity to meet and work with college coaches in a hands-on environment. Not only has it helped me meet college coaches and see their coaching style, but it also helps having the recruiting seminar that Western Winners hosts during the camp. The recruiting talk that the coaches have with all the campers has helped me learn what is most important to do when entering recruiting and how to get in front of the coaches at colleges that I would love to play at. They are always so helpful with giving their personal experiences with recruiting players and hosting an open Q&A at the end of the talk for any further questions.
What is your favorite lacrosse memory so far?
LI: My most recent favorite memory is from my last travel club team tournament at Sand Storm. At this tournament, my team and I won not only one, but two games against Team 180 and won the championships. For the past 3 or 4 years, my team has lost to Team 180 every single year at Sand Storm but it changed this year. We faced them in both the semifinals and finals to win the championship! This was one of the best moments of my life because I saw the excitement from my teammates and my coaches. This will be a core memory that I will remember for the rest of my life.
What are your personal and team goals for your upcoming high school season?
LI: My personal goal is to make more of an impact on the field. Last year, as one of two freshmen on varsity, I had a hard time stepping up and taking risks on the field because I was so scared to mess up and disappoint my coaches and my teammates. This year, I really want to make a difference on the field and go into the new season with confidence that I lacked last year. A team goal of ours is to continue our unbeaten streak. We have been undefeated for the past 3 seasons, and I want us to continue this streak. We will need to work hard if we would like to achieve this, but I think with the talent and chemistry we have on this team, we will.
Leslie’s father, Mike, further discussed the impact Western Winners has had on his daughter and the role it has played so far in helping Leslie get to where she is today:
Why did you initially choose to send your daughter to Western Winners?
MI: We were first introduced to Western Winners several years ago when our older daughter played for Tenacity. It proved to be a great experience, learning from some of the best coaches in the country and playing with some of the top talent on the West Coast. When Leslie became age eligible to attend Western Winners, there was little to discuss. She wanted to be coached and play with the best!
How do you think your daughter benefitted from their experience at Western Winners?
MI: Without question the largest benefit Leslie has received by attending Western Winners is access to college coaching. While she has had great coaches in youth, high school, and on her Tenacity national team, being immersed in a college style practice and drills led by today’s D1 and D3 coaches is a different level. Add in the one-on-one feedback she received during the practices and games, and the college coaches make this a different experience for the players.
How do you think Western Winners helped in your daughter’s decision-making process to want to play at the next level?
MI: Attending Western Winners has inspired Leslie to work hard, as she wants to play at the next level. It has given her the opportunity to play with and against the best talent for three days and the experience of working with some of the best collegiate level coaches in the country. It also noticeably gave her the confidence that she can play at the next level and motivated her to work on her skills more, outside of camp and organized practices.
What do you think Western Winners has done for your daughter as she progresses through her high school playing career?
MI: Each time I drop off one of my girls at a camp, I ask them to make sure they come away with at least one new concept or skill that will elevate their game. This could be a dodge, a check, a new shot, a way of communicating or defensive positioning. As Leslie attends both the summer and winter Western Winners, each of the newly acquired skills build upon one another, making her a more complete high school player and leader.
Thank you to the Iorio Family! We look forward to seeing Leslie continue to star at the Winners Showcase and what she does in her sophomore season at San Ramon Valley high school.