I was born in Juarez, Mexico, and seventeen years later, I never thought that I would be in the place I am right now. Playing soccer and continuing my education at a US Soccer Development Academy, Real Salt Lake – Arizona. The day after I was born, we had to rush out of the hospital because my parents could not pay the medical bill. My family’s next mission was to move to the United States in search of a better life. We packed up our house in two suitcases and moved to Michigan, where my dad had a job prospect. Luckily, my dad had the foresight to finish his schooling before we moved to the United States, and was a certified business accountant. With two other siblings, my mom was forced to stay at home and take care of us while my dad worked for BOSCH, an auto part manufacturer. A year later, he was transferred to El Paso, Texas. By then we had a little idea of what we were doing, and we began integrating into the American life.
Every kid has nightmares of their first day of school. However, my nightmares were nothing compared to everyone else. I did not know any English at all. I slowly started to get a hang of the language, even though I was still speaking only Spanish at home. It took me about a year and a half to be able to communicate well with others, but I still had a hard time overcoming my insecurities. Every time I would talk to someone, my thick Spanish accent would come out. I had a very difficult time dealing with kids from school because of the way I talked. As the years went by, my accent started to fade and I began to fit into the American community. I started hanging out with friends from more diverse backgrounds. One thing that helped me transcend cultural divides was the unifying power of sports.
In the sixth grade, my parents signed me up for a recreational soccer team over the summer. At my very first practice, I fell in love with soccer. I slowly started to get better, and the next year I left the recreational team and moved to a competitive soccer club. I stayed at that club for six years, and they made a huge impact on my development as a player. I was confident enough in my play where I thought I could attend a tryout for Real Salt Lake Academy in Arizona. At the end of the weeklong soccer academy tryout, the head coach of Real Salt Lake Academy, Martin Vásquez, asked me to stay and become part of their residential program. Moving away from my friends and family my senior year was a sacrifice, but that sacrifice helped me make my dreams a little bit closer to reality. While my friends back home were enjoying parties and senioritis, I was training hard to prepare myself for the next step in soccer and in my education.
I have come a long way in a short time. I have crossed border in search of a better life, moved to Grande Sports Academy in Casa Grande, Arizona to pursue my soccer dreams, and will venture on my next journey to college. I know being a student-athlete at a university will be very challenging. I have faced many changes in my life, and I have learned how to adapt with hard work and perseverance. I plan to explore different majors during my first year at college until I find the right one for me. My Dad’s dedication to finishing school so he can provide for our family serves as an example for me on how education can affect your life. In college, I plan to take advantage of the opportunities presented to me to ensure I have a more promising future. Playing soccer for my university would just be icing on the cake.