BY JOE MARVILLI
Queens-raised Michelle Betos has had an eventful soccer career so far in her 25 years of life. The goalkeeper has competed for teams in four different cities and in two countries so far.
Now a member of the Seattle Reign, Betos hopes the new National Women’s Soccer League lasts longer and is more successful than the last two professional-women’s leagues, which folded after a few years.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be a part of this new professional league, and to have the opportunity to play,” Betos said. “I really believe this league is here to stay. Playing overseas is a great experience but nothing compares to the level of play here in the United States, or to the feeling of getting to play in front of friends and family.”
Raised in Flushing, Betos began playing soccer at the age of 5, though her interest in the sport had a strange origin.
“I figured out early on that I could have pockets in my shorts and keep some Skittles in them, and that’s literally how I started playing goalie,” she said. “I didn’t want to run and then I realized that I could just have some candy during the game.”
From her early interest, Betos moved on to play as part of the Olympic Development Program of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association and Region 1 ODP Team. She was a member of both for three years. She was a member of the Albertson Fury ‘87 of the Long Island Junior Soccer League.
At St. Francis Preparatory School, she was named the 2005 Most Valuable Player. From there, she attended the University of Georgia where she had 316 saves by the end of her college career, the third most of all-time at the school. She also holds second place for shutout count, with 26, and win totals, with 48.
In 2009, Betos joined the Atlanta Silverbacks, helping the team to a Southeast Division title with a 10-1-1 record. For her efforts, she was named W-League Goalkeeper of the Year. Following her experience there, she joined the ranks of the New York Fury in 2012. Her biggest shift though came when she joined the Apollon Limassol team based in Cyprus for the 2012-2013 season. Despite the fact that she did not speak much Greek, the goalkeeper found a way to communicate with her teammates.
“As a goalkeeper, it’s obviously very important to communicate so the Apollon players and I created our own language–– a mix of English and Greek–– that allowed our points to get across in the run of play,” she said.
Reach Reporter Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.