As a kid, Veronica Napoli played soccer with two older brothers on a small turf field less than a penalty kick’s dis­tance from their home in Merano, Italy.

They were so much faster and stronger than I was,” Napoli recalls. And yet, the 5-​​foot-​​1-​​inch for­ward, who cur­rently holds Northeastern’s all-​​time women’s soccer scoring record with 36 goals and 89 points, shrugged off the size dis­ad­van­tage like a true pro.

As she puts it, “Playing against them made me a better player when I grew up.”

Her pro­lific scoring touch bears this out: in her final season with the Huskies last fall, Napoli scored 10 goals and six assists. Freshman year, she racked up 12 goals and five assists en route to becoming the 2008 Colo­nial Ath­letic Asso­ci­a­tion (CAA) Rookie of the Year.

Head coach Tracey Leone, who got her first glimpse of Napoli as an opposing coach on the Har­vard side­lines four years ago, praises her player for her speed, skills and pas­sion for the game. “Veronica is tire­less,” Leone says. “She is such an inspiring player with tremen­dous ambition.”

Napoli inher­ited her ath­leti­cism from her par­ents. Her dad played golf at the U.S. Mil­i­tary Academy at West Point and her mom was a well-​​known figure skater in Italy.

Their little girl grew up active in soccer, tennis, base­ball and gym­nas­tics. “My par­ents wanted to make sure I tried a lot of dif­ferent sports,” Napoli explains. “They even made me take art classes, but those weren’t for me.”

Her record-​​breaking final season could not have been scripted with more serendipity. In mid-​​September, the New­port, R.I., trans­plant broke both the university’s career-​​goals record and the all-​​time points record by scoring her 30th and 31st career strikes in a vic­tory over the Uni­ver­sity of Rhode Island.

Napoli down­plays the achieve­ment. “I don’t really care so much about records,” she says. “I just cared about win­ning the game.”

Her fondest soccer memory, she says, is her club’s improb­able six-​​game win­ning streak, which cul­mi­nated with an over­time vic­tory in the cham­pi­onship game of the CAA Tournament.

No one expected us to win,” Napoli says. “One person even asked our coach if we wanted tickets to the final game, because no one thought we would make it.”

The same cannot be said of Napoli’s prospects for going pro­fes­sional. According to Leone’s prac­ticed eye, the speedy striker could com­pete along­side North America’s top stars.

Every single team needs a player like Napoli, who can break down a defense with her speed,” the coach says. “Shoot, I’d take her.”

But Napoli won’t fret if her playing days are behind her. The junior international-​​affairs major says she’s looking for­ward to a Dia­logue of Civ­i­liza­tions in Greece and a co-​​op in South Africa.

I love my major, and I want to keep trav­eling,” she says. “Hope­fully, my next co-​​op will lead me in the right direc­tion for what I want to do after I graduate.”