Leading on the field by example

Leadership is vital in any situation. Taking initiative and stepping up when things aren’t going in your favor can help restore and unify a team.

Soccer captains Gisell Cruz, Ashley Oviedo and Adriana Sosa are committed players who are working hard and leading by example, Head Coach Adolfo Perez said.

“It is putting a lot of pressure on them. It is not just about picking sides on game day, but deciding what uniforms to wear. All the girls look up to them,” Perez said.

Freshman Gisell Cruz is studying kinesiology, hoping to go into sports medicine and work for a professional team, she said.

According to Cruz, she knew soccer was the sport she wanted to play since she was 6.

“I started watching my brother play soccer, and I wanted to be like him. I started playing with his team, so I would only get a minute of playing, but I was happy to be on the field,” Cruz said.

Cruz hopes that she will achieve the mental and physical goals she has set for herself. Mental toughness is a big part of the game, and she wants her team to know that it is not always mandatory to win a game.

“I’m hoping that they all keep their eye on the prize, but to have fun with it. It is not a job. It is to relieve yourself of stress,” Cruz said.

Oviedo, also a kinesiology major, is a sophomore who said she wants to transfer to a four-year and study to be a physical therapist.

For Oviedo, soccer has always been a part of her life and is natural to her because she comes from a sports-driven family. According to her, she started playing the game at a very young age and always wanted to play from then forward.

“When I was younger, I wasn’t the greater player, but when I hit a certain year, I started to develop better skills,” Oviedo said.

According to Oviedo, she is shy, and being a captain has taken her out of her comfort zone.

“I’ve been able to be more talkative and express my opinions. I feel like I’ve become a better leader,” Oviedo said.

The team has grown very close this year, according to Oviedo. She hopes that moving forward, they can win games and stay connected.

Sosa, also a sophomore, is undecided about her major, but has been playing soccer for 13 years. This is Sosa’s second year on the team, but her first as a captain.

According to Sosa, soccer is her life. She said that soccer acts as a confidence booster.

“The best part of playing soccer is showing off what you’ve got. You can express yourself on the field and let out all your feelings, and then all your problems go away,” Sosa said.

As the season began, Sosa sprained her knee and was out for a month. Though she watched from the sidelines, she still had personal and team goals.

“I hope to do the best that I can, hopefully get scouted, and that we can make it to state. I have high expectations for the team,” Sosa said.

Katherine Castillo said that her new captains have great leadership skills on the field.

“I feel like they are all really good contributors. They are all great motivators, and they understand the team,” Castillo said.