Junior Phoebe Sandoval takes a deep breath as she enters the field as a starting mid-fielder in her third year of being on high school varsity girl's soccer.
Phoebe Sandoval originally did not plan on playing soccer when she first started at four years-old, so she quit, but as she grew to be around eight years-old she saw her siblings playing the sport and asked her parents to put her back into the program. Sandoval started playing for a league called Pink Panthers, and after that she played for a team called, "Extreme" during her eighth grade year , in which a majority of the team consisted of juniors and seniors. She then switched back to Pink Panthers who were renamed to, "F.C. United". She also has played on two unnamed adult leagues and three indoor soccer teams.
She explains how playing on a city league team differs from playing on a high school team. "City league is more competitive because it's more about skill and touching the ball," she says. "In high school, it is still competitive, but it's very physical and that is why more people get injured during high school season."
Now that the soccer season has begun, she must focus more on high school soccer than club soccer. Sandoval, however, finds participating in high school soccer very rewarding to the character. "It changes you, it makes you a more responsible person and especially when you get older like a junior and senior, all the responsibilities of the team become yours too," she said. She also says that not only has her character improved, but her playing has also seen tremendous improvement as her corner kicks and her shots on goal have gotten much better.
The significance of Sandoval's number three jersey number is that the number is the number she began playing with and every team since then, her number has been the same.
Now, coming back into high school and the team as an upperclassman, the junior player had a struggle learning how to be a leader. However, she is proving to bring the team together. "I've always been the youngest in all the teams I've played on," Sandoval said, "So coming here and being one of the oldest and having younger girls ask questions and advice is different for me. I don't mind it all, but it certainly is different."
Being on varsity her freshman year until now was a tremendous achievement for the young member of the team, but at the beginning it was isolated for Sandoval as a freshman. "At first it was very lonely because I didn't know any upperclassmen, so I felt a little out of place," Sandoval stated, "but after the games started, I got more comfortable."
As of now, only two coaches have been interested in recruiting her for their team, but in the future, after her senior year, her plans are to attend University of Texas El Paso (UTEP).