Two weeks ago, Charlotte Iannone ’26 was named NESCAC Player of the Week, a testament to her deep-rooted work ethic and prowess as a goalkeeper on the soccer field.
For Iannone, the choice to play at a collegiate level was never much of a dilemma: She has played soccer since the age of three and competed in high-level club teams throughout middle and high school.
Iannone’s beginnings on the field, however, came with difficulties. She describes her journey as fraught with unsupportive coaches and teams. Having started as a field player in her early childhood, Iannone transitioned to goalkeeper at age eight.
“I remember I was not a good field player, and I think it was a mix of me volunteering to go and my coach, who was a very mean person, saying, ‘You should go in goal, you’re terrible,’” Iannone said.
This transition came with its share of responsibilities, and the goalkeeper was an easy scapegoat when the game wasn’t successful. Her first year was difficult, but Iannone soon came to relish the challenges of goalkeeping.
“I loved the technical side of being a goalkeeper but … I felt like a lot of undue pressure was put on me growing up,” Iannone said. “[The pressure] is one of the most important parts of the position because with great pressure comes great reward. Yes, it’s very stressful and scary, but when you’re able to hold a game or make a couple saves, it feels very rewarding.”
Iannone attributes her success to a trio that has supported her since her early beginnings: her parents and goalie coach.
When conditions proved frustrating at the start of her soccer career, Iannone’s mom, who played soccer in high school, encouraged her to stick with the sport. Her mom helped her find a coach to supplement her training, and Iannone continues to work with him today.
“I trained with [my goalie coach] since I was 11. With my parents, he’s been the greatest influence in my life,” said Iannone.
Iannone trained with her coach in anticipation of the fall season and appreciates his critical and honest approach, which has consistently built her up to be a better player.
While Iannone describes her mother as working backstage, her father is the “public parent.”
“[My dad] endured having to deal with very difficult parents [of teammates and opponents], terrible games, mean coaches,” Iannone said. “He was always there to defend and console me if the game didn’t go the way I hoped.”
When Iannone was searching for the perfect college, she hoped to land on a team that purposefully supported her and her role.
“I had so many years of teams where I felt very isolated, and I had coaches who didn’t make decisions with my best interests in mind,” Iannone said.
Thankfully, Iannone struck gold with Bowdoin and treasures the team dynamic she has found at the College. When attempting to describe the close team culture, Iannone struggled to pinpoint a specific memory. In many ways, their tight bond pervades her everyday life.
“I just really lucked out with the program I chose because [I received] everything I had hoped for at Bowdoin—teammates that I feel really care about me and [whom] I care deeply about, coaches that support us and just a really all around high-level program,” Iannone said.
While the road to success was neither easy nor straight, Iannone’s skills are finally celebrated within Bowdoin soccer’s supportive community.
“I feel like here, I’ve finally been able to get my due for all the work I’ve put in, where I really didn’t feel that at all in middle school or high school,” Iannone said. “So it’s a lot of years of struggle and stress that I think have finally paid off.”
Last weekend, the team won against Connecticut College 1–0 in the NESCAC quarterfinals. Iannone looks forward to tackling the semifinals against Williams College this coming weekend.
The team previously played Williams in September. Iannone recalls the stress of those early games because they marked her initiation to collegiate soccer. She is optimistic about the team’s prospects this weekend, however.
“We’ve been building towards [the semifinals] this entire season, and I think we’re a very different team than we were in September when we first played Williams,” Iannone said. “I think we have a very strong chance. I really, really believe in us.”