Tori DellaPeruta's last match as a member of West Forsyth's girls soccer team came in May against Lambert in the Class 7A state championship.
Her next match will be Sunday against Juventus in her Serie A debut, Italian soccer's highest classification, after signing a contract Wednesday with Pomigliano C.F. to become the club's newest forward.
"I was definitely excited, but I was really just ready for the opportunity because it was my plan to go overseas my spring semester," DellaPeruta said. "So, for something to work out and for me to get an opportunity to show my skill and how hard I've been working, it was really incredible."
DellaPeruta said the transaction was borne out of a relationship one of her UFA coaches has with an agency in Italy. She sent in her film, and the club invited her for a tryout before the season started.
"I landed in Milan with my mom — she came for the first week," DellaPeruta said. "We met up with my agent and we went to lunch, then me and my mom explored."
The contract spans six months, which will essentially carry her into move-in day at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where DellaPeruta will enroll as a freshman in the fall.
DellaPeruta's older sister, Talia DellaPeruta, is currently a sophomore at UNC and had her own international soccer showing three years ago with the United States U-17 Women’s National Team in the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Uruguay.
Tori's opportunity to play overseas comes shortly after her family received dual citizenship with Italy.
"We waited about 2 1/2 years for the dual citizenship, so it's always been part of what we were going to do as a family," she said. "It just made the experience and opportunity to come to Italy easier, because I'm able to play in match games because I have my passport."
All of this before her 18th birthday.
DellaPeruta won't turn 18 until March 21, and she's hoping to score her first international goal before then.
It won't be easy. DellaPeruta's first chance could come this weekend against a Juventus team that has ceded just four goals and sits atop one of Europe's most recognizable leagues at 11-0.
"It's very, very high. Very high competition," DellaPeruta said. "The league itself, because it's a well-known league, it's the best league in Italy. The competition in training is incredible. I'm training with 30-year-old women, and I'm the youngest on the team. It's definitely a different environment, but it's making me mature in ways I didn't know I could at this age."
Not only is DellaPeruta the youngest one on the roster, but she is one of few players who is not originally from Italy.
Fortunately, many of DellaPeruta's teammates also speak English, but one of her off-field goals is to learn as much Italian as she can.
"I would say I'm a very open person," DellaPeruta said. "I like to talk to everybody, no matter what age, language, nationality. I try to get to know everybody and kind of let them know who I am and what I'm doing here."
DellaPeruta led the Wolverines to the 2021 Class 7A state championship last year.
She scored a school-record 54 goals, including the game-winner in a 1-0 victory against Lambert to capture the title, and was named the Forsyth County News Player of the Year.