Caldwell brings Irish “Pride” to Hofstra

When senior defenseman Diane Caldwell first suited up for the Irish national team in early 2006 she got an early introduction to the Hofstra women’s soccer family that has formed in the Emerald Isle. While competing for her native country she played with Hofstra red-shirt senior Edel Malone and former Pride women’s soccer players Dolores Deasley, Elaine O’Connor, Kariena Richards and Casey O’Driscoll, who all played a huge influence on her decision to head to land on Long Island.

“They really encouraged me to come here,” said Caldwell of how the large make-up of Hofstra women’s soccer players competing for Ireland brought her to Hempstead. "[Playing at Hofstra] has met my expectations and more."

Caldwell has adapted well to her surroundings at Hofstra on and off the field and is hoping to extend her senior season as long as possible. The physical education major tallied Hofstra’s winning goal in a 1-0 triumph over George Mason last Friday night on a corner kick with 7:35 remaining in the game. Caldwell’s senior leadership has been a major factor in the Pride’s number three ranking in the National Soccer Coaches Association Mid-Atlantic Region following a 7-3-1 start and 4-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association heading into home games this weekend against Old Dominion and William & Mary.

One word that would sum up Caldwell’s many attributes is “versatility” as since first arriving at Hofstra in 2006 the Balbriggan, Ireland native has played forward, midfield and her final college soccer season on defense. Head coach Simon Riddiough opted to move Caldwell to defense in order to solidify a backline that graduated some key starters from a year ago.

“She just wants to play and wants to win,” said Riddiough. “She is very unselfish.”

Caldwell got a taste of NCAA tournament play during her sophomore year in 2007 when Hofstra defeated Ohio State before dropping an overtime heartbreaker to Penn State in the second round. With her desire to win and return to the NCAAs, she will perform whatever tasks are asked of her. “Because I am so versatile I’ll play wherever,” she said. “I’ll play in goal if I have to.”

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