Being in school and trying to maintain good grades can already be a struggle but when students also play sports as well it can become a difficult task for some. Although Valeria Benitez has a demanding schedule, she has it under control. She has participated in dance for seven years, Volleyball for one school season, basketball for one year and soccer for five years. She playś soccer for the MACES Varsity Girls Soccer team as well as a team outside of school called Tudela Futbol Club(TFC).
Benitez´s main sport is soccer, but her main priority is school, so in order to balance these two, she manages her time, so she can do both school and sports. When she doesn’t have practice after school, she goes to tutoring to maintain or bring up her grades. She does homework during tutoring. If she has practice she tries to finish her homework before because after practice she has to take a shower and get ready for the next day.
Her most memorable moment was in January 2018, the state cup. In the first game she played ´´ok´´ they won and they did well, then the second game was a roller coaster as she described it. She got the ball and she couldn’t find a pass because nobody was open. So she starts to dribble forward and then a girl comes out of nowhere and takes the ball from her. The girl on the other team scored, at this point, Benitez wanted to cry. The score was 1-0 but suddenly the other team scored again and she didn’t even know-how. So now the score is 2-0 but then Benitez ends up tying the game to 2-2. Later into the game, the ball ends up in the penalty box as sheś turning, she puts her hands up as instinct but then the ball bounces on her hand. It was a penalty at this point. Benitez had tears in her eyes. So then the girl on the other team takes the penalty but misses the shot. Benitez was very happy and they ended up winning the game and she couldn’t stop crying on the way home. She said that ¨I was going to make mistakes and that not everything was going to go my way.¨ This was one of her best and worst games sheś ever played because she remembers it as if it was yesterday.
Benitezś main support system would have to be from both her parents because they’ve always supported her by picking her up from practice, dropping her off at practice, and taking her to games whether they are close or far. They also buy her whatever she needs for soccer and school. Her parents take care of her whenever something happens. She says that her dad is really supportive because whenever Benitezś is frustrated when sheś playing he already knows when she looks at him. He calms her down and reminds her to breathe and puts a smile on her face. She said that ¨He helps me before himself sometimes, and he always tries to find me coaches to train with so I can get better.¨ Valeria ́s father gives her advice and with the school. He keeps her in check.
An inspirational message from her to younger teens or children who would like to be a scholar and athlete is ¨Times will get tough but remember your doing all this for a reason and do what makes you happy, don’t give up, and being passionate, confident, and dedicated will get you through it all, and you’ll always have people supporting you…manage your time wisely and stay focused to what you want to achieve.¨ Benitez is currently a freshman at MACES. She hopes to continue being both a scholar and athlete at MACES.###