By Maxine Goynes '11
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Freshman Sophia Huerta, a Boise, Idaho native, has not only found herself in a different state but also finds herself in a different position as she enters the Santa Clara University starting backline. Huerta has started and played in all three victories over San Jose State, Santa Barbara and Cal Poly.
"I am here for what the coaches tell me to do, and what is best for the team. If they need me at center back, then I will play center back."
Huerta has adjusted to collegiate soccer with assistance from her new teammates.
"At first it was hard to adapt. The speed of play is a lot faster than in club. But having such good teammates and teammates that know how it feels because they came in playing one position and ended up playing another, has helped me adapt."
Although Santa Clara University was victorious in Huerta's college choice, she does admit that it was a hard decision and a process. Huerta explains that an excellent coaching staff, including Brandi Chastain, a former World Cup Champion, was a large reason she picked SCU.
"I just had a lot of faith in them, and thought our team was going to be really successful in my next four years," Huerta also mentions the Santa Clara University demographic she found appealing as well. "A big thing was also the community. It is small enough but also big enough. I think at any other big school I would have been just another face in the crowd. Here I actually mean something to the school, and that played a big part in it. I think this is a really good fit for me and so far I really like it."
With the Santa Clara Broncos undefeated so far, Huerta reminds herself to stay focused on each game individually.
"I have thought about a lot of goals I want to accomplish. As of right now, I am focusing on the next game. We just played Cal Poly, now I am focusing on Oregon State."
Huerta hopes to continue playing soccer after college, but has managed to stay focused on her first season with the Broncos.
"A lot of college players want to go to the next level, and I too want to play soccer afterwards but I am focusing on now, each game improving my weaknesses and helping the team."
Anybody watching the Broncos will know that Huerta has added some athleticism to the Bronco roster, "I am big, strong, and competitive," Huerta is also confident which may assist in the Broncos having an aggressive backline, "If you are going to put me next to someone, I will beat them to the ball. I have always been athletic, and played a lot of sports."
Reflecting on her soccer career, Huerta is thankful for her club coach who has helped her get where she is today.
"My club coach Mike Mollay has been my coach and a part of my soccer career since I was in fourth grade. He went through it as well, he knows how it is to play soccer, and the emotions that went along with it," although Mollay made a huge impact on her soccer career Huerta is quick to also mention others who have helped her as well, "also my friends and family, seeing them do something great, makes me want to do something great."
With school quickly approaching, Huerta is excited for the college experience. "Right now we have a ton of spare time." Acknowledging that the start of school is reflective of time passing, Huerta remains faithful in her team as she thinks about the future, "we want to get through all of our games so the NCAA tournament will come!"