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  • Pat Burns

Bandura Makes Her Mark on Mount Mercy Soccer

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Rosalie (Rosie) Bandura of West Seneca has been a starter and star on the Mount Mercy Academy Varsity Soccer team for the past four years, but she has been playing soccer since the age of three. During her years of playing soccer, Bandura developed into one of the top players in Western New York and these skills have led her to a scholarship to play soccer in college for Mercyhurst University.

Chris Bandura, Rosie’s father had played soccer, so her parents thought soccer would be a good fit for her, enrolling her at the age of three. Her parents’ decision proved to be a wise one, as Bandura has developed not only the skills to be an outstanding player, but she also has extreme passion for the game. “From the time my parents put me in soccer, I never looked back and just continued to make it an even bigger part of my life,” Bandura commented.

Bandura’s commitment to soccer became more serious when she joined the Western New York Flash at the age of eleven. She continues to play for the Flash and just recently was named to the Ohio Valley ECNL All Regional League Team.

The freedom and creativity that soccer provides for her are some of the things that Bandura loves best about the game. She feels that being able to be in control and do what she wishes on the field allow her to make her own decisions and be free on the field. These were factors in her growth and love for soccer. She also, as she aged, appreciated the passion and emotions of the game, becoming a fan of the game as well as a competitor. Bandura enjoys being a student of the game and learning more about the sport. She has admired women’s soccer player Alex Morgan from a young age for her strong work ethic and passion for the game.

Bandura also finds time to be a student ambassador for Mount Mercy and played lacrosse for the first time last spring. She does her best in these activities as well as her scholastics and soccer. “I set a lot of goals for myself which makes it easy for me to focus on smaller steps to get there. Soccer is something that I am really passionate about so doing the extra stuff is fun and really enjoyable to me,” Bandura said.

In addition to being an outstanding soccer player, Bandura is also an exceptional student. She is a constant presence on the First Honors List and is a member of National Honor Society. She pushes herself, enrolling in Advanced Placement classes. One of her AP teachers commented that Rosie is very driven to do her best and understand the material. She carefully checks over corrections and makes improvements in her future work. Despite the time demands of her soccer activities, she works hard to maintain a high average. Bandura was driven from a young age to be the best in both soccer and scholastics.

“Playing college soccer has been my dream for as long as I can remember and I was always told that colleges want all-rounded students. It is not just enough to be a good soccer player, you need to show that you are disciplined in all areas of your life, including school and other activities.” Bandura remarked. “I always try to keep that in the back of my mind whenever it comes to trying to manage everything. It is not always easy but I have learned to ask for help if I need it and to better my time management and prioritize things each day. “

Mount Mercy Academy Soccer Coach Maddie Higgins began her coaching career at Mount Mercy at the same time Bandura started her playing career. She remembers Bandura as being a bit overwhelmed as most freshmen are when she came into the program. However, one thing Higgins noticed was that nothing held back Bandura’s passion for the game. It took a bit more time for her game to develop, but as her self-confidence grew, so did her playing and leadership skills

A memory of Bandura that has stayed with Higgins is her demonstration of the leadership skills that resulted in her being named a captain as a sophomore. The team was participating in a conditioning drill and once they were finished they were to hydrate and rest until everyone had finished. When Higgins followed the last athlete to where the rest of the team had gathered, she found Bandura there at the end, encouraging and supporting each teammate as she completed the drill. She did this on her own, with no prompting or witnessing from the coaches. “She did it because that is the type of person Rosie is. A true, caring teammate- a leader,” Higgins recalled. Bandura has been a captain the past two seasons as well.

“Rosie has grown tremendously as a leader and player,” Higgins explained. “But looking at the big picture, it was always inside of her, she just needed to find and display it.” Higgins feels that Bandura’s passion and drive are her two greatest qualities. She stated that Bandura has passion not only for soccer, but for life, success, spreading kindness and for being an amazing teammate. “In everything Rosie does, it’s with a fire inside of her. She does everything at 110%. She expects the best from herself and knows that this does not just happen with wishful thinking. She works non-stop to achieve these goals,” Higgins conveyed.

As a sophomore and junior at Mount Mercy, Bandura was named a First Team All-Catholic for Division II and was also honored as the Division’s Player of the Year. Those awards have not been determined for the current season. She is also a two time Most Valuable Player on the soccer team and last year was also named the Booster Club’s Mount Mercy Athlete of the Year. For her Mount Mercy career, Bandura has scored 51 goals and accumulated 19 assists, despite missing time the past two seasons with injuries. Unfortunately, Bandura is currently out with a broken bone in her foot, but she is hoping to return for the playoffs.

Although the individual accolades are special to her, being a part of a team and its accomplishments are also tantamount to Bandura. “Being part of a team is something that is absolutely necessary in my life. As I have gotten older, I have realized how important my teammates are to me. I have been on many different teams at different times in my life and I feel like I have been able to understand a lot of different people from these experiences. It has taught me how to be a leader and how to be a good listener when I need to,” Bandura explained.

When asked what her proudest accomplishment in soccer has been, Bandura noted that she has been blessed with many experiences in soccer that she never could have imagined but what came to her mind first was going undefeated in the league and winning the league championship as a junior at Mount Mercy. “That season, there was no doubt that we were going to win and I felt that everyone had such an important role in making that team so special,” Bandura reminisced.

Her parents, Chris and Kim Bandura, are Bandura’s role models. “My parents have been really important influences in my life. They have shaped me into the person that I am and they have pushed me to be my best every day,” Bandura stated. She credits her parents for teaching her to work hard. “I have always been a very driven person. My personality is to always do everything to the best of my ability. That is a value that was instilled in me from a very young age. My family has always taught me that no matter how small something is, it all matters and you never know what your impact can be,” Bandura noted.

That drive to be the best resulted in Bandura receiving several scholarship offers for soccer, but she was selective in accepting an offer, looking for the best fit for her, both as a student and an athlete. Ultimately Bandura selected Mercyhurst because she wanted to attend college that had a campus she liked, was not too far from home and had a soccer program that she could have a chance to make an impact on and would be able to compete for a starting position as a freshman. As soon as she was able to meet the coach and visit the campus, Bandura knew instantly that Mercyhurst was the best fit for her. “Mercyhurst has a very competitive program which is something that was very important to me when I committed there. They have very high standards and expectations which is something that aligns with my personality and drive,” Bandura related.

Bandura mentioned that Mercyhurst has a noted reputation regionally for being very strong in athletics. The Women’s soccer program consistently competes for a Division II National Championship. Mercyhurst competes in the competitive Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). While at Mercyhurst Bandura expects to major in either communications or psychology. She would love to coach soccer at a high level and to make a positive impact on others, as her coaches have done for her.

Bandura has left an indelible mark on the Mount Mercy Soccer program and chances are she will do the same at Mercyhurst University.

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