Oh, to be Emily Correal! The William and Mary grad signed her first professional contract Thursday and will play for Fila San Martino in Italy. San Martino won the A2 North league playoffs last year, earning the team a promotion to A1, the top women's league, for the upcoming season.
LadySwish chatted with Correal about what promises to be an awesome adventure. Correal leaves Aug. 18 (she'll fly into Rome) and she's in the process of becoming an Italian citizen, too!
"My great grandparents were naturalized in America, so the citizenship passes down," she said. "This year I'll be playing as an American, but it's a real advantage to have dual citizenship. You don't count again the two-American quota."
Correal has never been abroad before and is more than a little psyched to play in the city that is a ski resort full of beaches with great shopping and food. Her summer so far has been a busy one, as she had to take one class to complete her degree in marketing.
"In June, I did an independent study where I taught an acting class," she said. "It was really fun. One of my tasks was to lead the class in yoga every day. We did scenes from plays, too." (BTW, Correal remains passionate about acting in the future along with modeling and broadcasting and perhaps advertising.)
On the basketball end, Correal has worked with a personal trainer and shooting in the gym every day.
"My dad rebounds for me," she said.
Correal looks forward to dedicating herself solely to basketball. "All my focus will be on the team," she said. "I don't have to worry about getting a midterm paper done before a game. It might be easier not in the sense of competition, but that I can focus my full attention on basketball and training."
While many players find themselves filled with extra free time during international play, Correal has already taken note that her preseason schedule includes two-a-days every day with Sunday off. No pressure, of course, but Correal, who averaged 16.9 ppg and 7.9 rpg her senior year at W&M, has been told the team will be built around her.
"I'll come out and set screens and do pick and roll and also, they'll set screens for me to shoot. Coach wants me to shoot the 3 and everything, which is great because I wasn't allowed to at William and Mary," she said.
With Italian citizenship, Correal will also be eligible to play for the national team. She's hoping to get her citizenship by October.
Correal also plans to travel the country and ideally go to France and Spain, too. All of it sounds glorious if you ask us.
"I have a lot of friends who have traveled abroad, and they keep telling me about the food and the great gelato ice cream," she said.
Correal promises to share details of her basketball and beyond adventure by occasionally blogging for us. We're ecstatic she's agreed and can't wait to read her first post. Until then, pack your bags for Italy!