New Islanders prospect, 18-year old Corey Trivino
was a multi-sport athlete growing up. But at the age of 14, he had to make a decision that would affect his future forever.
As the son of a Canadian mother and a semi-professional Argentinean soccer father, Trivino, a native of Ontario, grew up playing both soccer and hockey.
"When I first started walking, my father had be kicking around a soccer ball," said Trivino. "And when I got a little older, my mom put me on ice skates. So from an early age I was a die-hard soccer and hockey fan."
Trivino would also pick up rugby, but it was soccer and hockey that Trivino would focus most of his attention. It was one player, in particular, from each sport that Trivino idolized and tried to mimic.
"I remember going to Maple Leaf Gardens and watching Doug Gilmour play," said the center, who likes to play the set-up man on the ice. "The Leafs had a good team with Gilmour leading the way. With soccer, arguably the best player to ever play the game was number 10 on the Argentinean National Team, Diego Maradona. He was one of the main reasons I kept playing soccer. I really liked his fancy moves."
Maradona would finish his 18-year career on the Argentinean National Team in 1994 with 34 goals, which placed him third all time amongst Argentinean players. Gilmour, also a center, recorded 964 assists in 1,474 NHL games.
Up until he was 14 years old, Trivino was making fancy moves at the highest level in both hockey and soccer. But it was at this time, Trivino had to make a decision. With Junior level hockey on the horizon, Trivino had to choose which sport he would pursue more seriously.
"It was a tough choice," said Trivino. "I ended up picking hockey because I just liked it better. My father was heart broken, but he completely supported my decision. He wanted me to do whatever made me happy."
Even without soccer as prevalent in his life as it was a few years ago, Trivino appreciates what the sport has done for his hockey career.
"There are some skills in soccer that help with your hockey playing," said Trivino. "There's a lot of distributing the ball in soccer, where you lead the player. That helped me to learn to pass in front of people in hockey and keep my head up. Vision is important in both sports. You're always looking to see how the play is developing. I think it's helped to have a dual sport skill level."
While there may be no hockey being played at this time, soccer is in full swing with the 2008 UEFA Euro Cup wrapping up and the Olympics less than two months away. As Trivino was completing his interview, Turkey had just lost in a tight match to Germany in the semifinals of the Euro Cup. Trivino had been rooting for the underdog Turks, but he is more excited about the upcoming Olympics in Beijing where his favorite team – Argentina – will be participating.
"We have a good, young team," explained Trivino, who considers himself half Canadian and half Argentinean. "The Olympics are made up of soccer players under 20 with a few exceptions. Argentina just won the Under-20 World Cup, so I think we'll do well at the Olympics."
Still under 20 himself, Trivino traded in an opportunity to one day dress for a professional soccer club like Real Madrid or Manchester United for the chance to one day play in the National Hockey League as a member of New York Islanders.
"I think I've made the right decision," said Trivino. "I'm just excited to be an Islander."