Posted Oct. 15, 2014
“My mom knew that I was athletically inclined to play at the age of two,” said Acuña, now a junior at Wellesley High. “I would lunge around the house for any football or soccer ball being tossed around and not be afraid to land on my stomach.”
Acuña’s natural abilities were later fine-tuned by her father, Ariel Acuña, who showed her the ropes and helped her become mentally prepared to excel at the sport.
“Without him, I don’t think I would be as competitive or skilled as I am today,” Acuña said. “He taught me that with practice and focused mindset your goals are achievable.”
Acuña signed up for the local youth soccer program at age five and one of her coaches, Kim Benzan, played a significant role in her development.
“She was an amazing coach and someone I looked — and still look — up to,” Acuña said. “She has had a huge impact on my mental and physical skills as a soccer player on and off the field.”
Today, Acuña is the leading scorer on a Wellesley High girls varsity soccer team that’s working hard to lock in a postseason berth with a 5-6-2 record and five games remaining this fall.
Normally a center back for the Raiders and occasionally a center mid and forward, Acuña has scored five goals this season. She is pleased with her individual contributions but with her team sporting a sub-.500 record, she knows there’s a lot of work to be done.
“We have a great amount of skill and athleticism on the girls varsity soccer team that our overall record sometimes does not show, but we can always improve,” Acuña said.
Acuña feels her strengths are her work ethic and competitive nature, but she knows there’s a lot of room for improvement.
“[Soccer] it is a dynamic game,” Acuña said. “It is always changing: in speed, emotion, score, and possession. I really enjoy the competitiveness and just the feeling of stepping onto the field.”
During the school year Acuña is on the field a lot. She has a game or practice every day during the week and spends the weekends in the gym or on the practice field.
“It is hard to balance soccer with my school work, but I try to manage my time and limit procrastination,” Acuña said.
After the school soccer season ends, Acuña plays for the under-17 Elite Club National League (ECNL) team with the Boston Breakers Academy program. But she knows academics still is the priority.
This was reposted with the permission of The Wellesley Townsman.