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Perez utilizes tenacity, encouragement to guide team

Building up her skills over a span of 11 years, junior Theresa Perez tears up the field as a midfielder, showing her leadership skills to the rest of the team. Perez applies her knowledge and talent on and off the field as she tries to balance soccer and high school.

Inspiration can come from many places, but, for Perez, her grandpa provided the encouragement and motivation she needed to play soccer. With the reassurance that she could achieve what she set her mind to, her soccer career began.

?I started playing because my grandpa is the one who taught me to play soccer,? Perez said. ?He is my biggest hero and I?ve always looked up to him. He played soccer at an amateur level until he was about 30. One quality I took from him was his aggressiveness on the field, which sometimes leads to a short temper.?

Perez loves being one of the three soccer captains because it provides her with the opportunity to give guidance and advice to all those on the team. The ability to mentor other girls provides Perez with the opportunity to enhance her leadership capability.

“I love being a team captain,” Perez said. “It is a privilege and a blessing to be able to lead a team that is full of great girls. This opportunity to lead a team is great and I’m so thankful.”

Teammate Ivette Ibarra, ’15, praises Perez’s leadership skills, commenting that, as a freshman, she looks to Perez as an inspiration to become a better player and teammate.

“Theresa is a great athlete,” Ibarra said. “She’s also very encouraging to all the girls on the team. Theresa is not one of those evil captains who yells at you every time you do something wrong. She helps us fix our mistakes in a nice calm voice. All the girls on the team like her because she’s considerate and helpful.”

An important aspect for almost all sports is the idea of team; without the cooperation of an entire team, things would not function as they should. Perez enjoys the camaraderie of the team and hopes to be a great leader to the girls. She believes that being a team player is an important aspect in life as well as on the field.

?I enjoy playing soccer because you get to be a part of a team,? Perez said. ?Everyone is equal and everyone is very encouraging. To be a good team you must encourage everyone to do their best at all times. I think this is very beneficial in life, outside of school. Also, I think I?m a pretty good player, so it makes it more fun.?

Assistant Coach Olivia Torres is happy to see that Perez is one of the three captains on the team. She loves seeing Perez lead the team in a helpful way instead of tearing them apart when they make a mistake.

“Theresa is extremely helpful with all of the girls,” Torres said. “If us coaches are busy with some other teammates Theresa is always there for the other girls who need assistance. She also never gives up when things get tough. She’s always the one to encourage the team.”

A good support system is key when it comes to playing a sport. Thankfully for Perez, her family supports her 100 percent. Showing their love and affection by going to every game they can, they cheer for her from the crowd.

?My family is so supportive of me,? Perez said. ?They always come to my games. Whenever I practice off the field they are the first ones I go to for help. I appreciate all of their encouragement because it helps me become a better player.”

Perez admires every one of the girls on the team, but she especially looks up to Ashley Erickson, ’13. Knowing her work ethic, she appreciates Erickson’s willingness to give her all to the sport.

?Ashley is an amazing girl on and off the field,? Perez said. ?She knows when it?s time to have fun and when it?s game time. She keeps me on task and inspires me to work harder on improving my skills.?

Likewise, Erickson appreciates Perez’s dedication to soccer and the encouragement she shows the team.

“Theresa helps keep the spirits up on the team,” Erickson said. “Her best leadership quality is her encouragement. Even when the entire team is getting frustrated, she’s always the one that motivates us to keep going.”

Despite the fact that Perez has been playing for 11 years, nerves still seem to enter her system before every game. The thought of messing up worries her, but once the game begins there is no time for worrying, only reacting.

?I always get nervous before a game,? Perez said. ?I?m always worried about messing up and letting my team down. It?s different during practice than if you were in a game. During practice, if you make a mistake, you can just try again. During a game there are no do-overs.?

Although her future seems uncertain at the moment, Perez remains hopeful that soccer will still be there later on in her life, she says.

?I?m planning on playing soccer after high school,? Perez said. ?I?ll have to see what happens. It also depends on whether or not I have enough time. I would love to play as long as God will let me. I?m keeping my mind open to what he has planned for me.?

Even when things may seem shaky, one constant Perez says she has in her life is God. As trials arise, she relies on God to give her the strength to push past it all and to accomplish the task ahead of her.

?God gives me the power to persevere through the struggles that soccer put in front of me daily,? Perez said. “It’s difficult sometimes to keep my stress level under control because of my hectic schedule, but I obtain reassurance from God which helps me stay calm.”

The Eagles will next face Parlier on the road, Jan. 13.

For more information on girls’ soccer, read the Dec. 19 article, Girls’ soccer sport shorts: Garces Holiday Soccer Festival. For more information on FCS sports, visit the Fresno Christian Athletics web page.

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    Jennifer SmithJan 7, 2012 at 12:02 am

    I absolutely love this photo! The band looks very concentrated, but it still looks like you are having fun. Keep that eagle spirit up, band! 🙂