Laredo Sports Medicine Clinic is proud to announce our spotlight athlete for January 2016…Martha C. Perez! When you think of a successful athlete, that person usually has one distinguishing trademark that makes them stand out from the rest: the gift of an undying passion to be the best and achieve greatness. Martha’s story is just that: a normal person driven to succeed in sports and academics.
“Have you ever had that feeling when you’re watching your favorite sport on T.V. and you want to jump in there and play? That’s exactly what I felt when I would watch one of my brother’s soccer games. I was in the first grade when I was at one of Oscar’s games and felt the strong need to join him on the field. I remember being on the sideline picturing myself playing with the team when I was approached by one of the parents who asked if I wanted to join soccer. Without hesitation, I said YES!”
It was then that Martha fell in love with the sport that would help shape her into the young woman she is today.
When she was younger, Martha first joined a soccer team called United. For more than five years, she was the only girl on the team. This small detail didn’t phase her, it only made her work harder to keep up with the rest of the team. It wasn’t until Martha was in middle school that she would be in an all-girl soccer team. By this time, she was ready to play and improve her skills. With the help of her coach, Ms. Erika Alcaraz, Martha was able to significantly improve her skills and continue playing the game of soccer as she transitioned into high school.
Once Martha entered high school at United, she tried out for the school’s soccer team and earned a spot on Varsity. As a freshman, she was proud of her position on the team because it meant she had the ability to defend, shoot, kick, and score like an upperclassman. She spent her sophomore and junior year further developing her skills on the field. She largely credits her success to the support she constantly receives from her family. Her older brother, Oscar, is always there to give her advice and her mother always motivates her to play her best before each game. Her mother jokes that Martha
“walks a certain way, as if she’s dribbling a soccer ball on her feet.”
Martha has been working rigorously to prepare for the upcoming season, practicing daily during the week. Martha and the rest of the United soccer team kicked off on December 28th with a preseason game against LBJ High School. The official season games start in January.
Outside of school, Martha is also an active part of the Laredo Heat U-19 soccer team. One of her most recent recognitions is that she helped the team win the 2015 STYSA Fall Season State title.
The success Martha has had as a soccer player motivates her to give it her all in the classroom too. Now a senior, Martha is making the most out of her last year in high school. She is a member of United’s Student Council, maintains an AB Honor Roll, and a perfect attendance. Another impressive addition to her resume is that she is already a published author. In 2013, she and the rest of her class collaborated to write a book entitled, Safe. Martha’s academic achievements also include being enrolled in dual credit college courses. By the end of her senior year, she will graduate with 12 college credit hours.
Martha’s expected graduation date is June of 2016. Afterwards, Martha plans on attending Texas A & M International University for her basics before transferring out to the University of Texas in San Antonio to study Physical Therapy. Her college days wouldn’t be complete without soccer, so Martha plans on joining the collegiate soccer teams at TAMIU and UTSA.
When asked if she would ever play soccer professionally, Martha laughs saying, “One can dream.” She wouldn’t completely rule out the possibility of following her longtime passion at the professional level.
Martha feels blessed that she has not faced any adversities in soccer to date. She’s a firm believer that the only thing she has done to prevent injuries during a game is the fact that she’s given all her effort during each game and not let fear get in the way.
As Martha reflects on her years as a soccer player, she is thankful for that fateful day when she was on the sidelines watching her brother play. She’s also thankful that a parent noticed the passion in her eyes and approached her, asking if she wanted to join the team. This enabled Martha to have the chance to play and follow her passion.
Each time Martha prepares for a game or is faced with a difficult assignment for school, she gets inspiration from Mia Hamm’s famous quote,
“Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back…play for her.”
It is evident that this athlete is gifted with a passion to be the best and achieve greatness. LSMC congratulates and is proud to recognize Martha C. Perez as January’s Spotlight Athlete!