Di Ioia had his first
shot at realizing that dream five years ago when he went to the
national championships with the U-14 Quebec team. But by his own
admission, Di Ioia didn't have a strong tournament and fell off
the national radar.
Two years ago, Di Ioia
was awarded the Golden Boot, for being the top scorer in the U-16
division of the Quebec Elite Soccer League, and the Golden Ball
as league MVP, but it still wasn't enough to get him another national
Last summer, however,
an injury on the national squad opened a door for Di Ioia and he
barged right in, scoring a goal 23 minutes into his first international
contest in a 3-2 loss to the United States.
"It didn't take
me long to make an impact," said Di Ioia, who will begin his
second year at Vanier College next month. "I felt I had performed.
It was a great feeling to score in my first game."
If Di Ioia thought his
position with the national team was secured with that performance,
he was brought down a notch when Canada played the U.S. again last
month and he wasn't in the starting lineup of a game Canada won
The next day at practice,
Di Ioia was determined to win back the favour of Canadian head coach
"I approached that
practice like it was a real game, an international game," Di
Ioia said, still somewhat irked by the snub. "I wanted to prove
to the coach that I should have been on the field."
Two days later, Di Ioia
proved just that, scoring twice in the first half and completing
his hat trick in the second half of a 5-0 pounding of Scotland.
Di Ioia's next challenge
will be with the Quebec U-18 team at the Canada Games, which are
going on this week in Regina.
His long-term goals don't
go past the 2007 championship just yet, but Di Ioia has some big
"2007 is a big year,
so that's what I'm preparing for," he said. "After that,
hopefully, I'll get to play in Europe, preferably in Italy. I've
always envisioned playing there. But if I don't get that chance
in Europe, a scholarship to the States would be the best thing for
"I want to play
soccer as long as I can. It's something I love doing."