By Nicole Bologna
Gilroy, Calif., is where it all started. Little did Connie Contreras know that those first set of cleats her parents bought her when she was 4 years old would be far from her last pair.
Hard working, energetic and passionate are all great words to describe Contreras. Contreras is a student-athlete at the University of Jamestown who plays soccer while also pursuing a major in exercise science.
Contreras has just entered her fourth and final season as a collegiate athlete.
“To be a collegiate athlete is something I am very proud of and I feel extremely lucky to be able to play at such a respected level of competition,” Contreras said.
Although Contreras has accomplished a lot in her 17 years of playing, she gives a lot of credit to her parents. She said her parents are her biggest supporters.
“I fell in love with soccer at such a young age and my parents did everything they could to keep me playing as long as I desired by sacrificing their time, money and energy,” she said.
Contreras also expressed how much she admires her younger brother, Anthony. She said she gets a lot of her determination and dedication from him. She admires the fact that even at the young age of 16 he is able to balance being an outstanding athlete and a hard-working student.
As Contreras works and grinds day after day on the field she also holds a very special title of captain. To be a captain a player has to be a leader and set an example for the rest of his or her team. It is her job to lead her team even during the hardest times.
“The hardest part about being a captain is the fact that it is hard to please everyone,” she said.
With such a large responsibility and upholding a role that not everyone can fill, she has led her team victoriously and remains a strong figure on her team. Out of all the years Contreras has been playing she has a specific memory that she said she will never forget. She said her favorite memory playing soccer was during a Gilroy High School game against her rival team, Chistproher High School, when she scored three goals by herself, winning the match 3-1.
As every athlete lives for game days, many have rituals they do to get ready for the game. Contreras is no different, before every game she separates herself and listens to “I will fight” from Elevation Church.
“It gets me pumped for the game and reminds me who I play for,” she said.
Proud to wear the No. 11 on her back for the fourth and final year, she said she will always look back and remember how proud she was to be a Jimmie. Her journey started in Gilroy, Calif., but will end in Jamestown as a fighting knight.