Sam Lee / Courtesy Photo
Haley Tsarofski’s journey to Glendale Community College has been anything but easy. In the past 12 years she has undergone three knee surgeries. Her most recent rehab assignment for the last surgery was the most challenging of all.
Tsarofski, who is known as one of the most genuine members of the GCC Women’s soccer team, is studying Kinesiology through which, she hopes to help athletes in the future as others have helped her during her toughest times as an athlete.
It was a year ago, on Sept. 14, at Compton Community College that she sustained an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear. The injury sidelined her for the remainder of the season. She recalls the events as if it happened yesterday.
“Two weeks before I tore this one, I went one-on-one with a goalkeeper and I tried to get the ball out of the way, but we just collided,” said Tsarofski.
“At the time I hurt my left knee, but I thought it was nothing too serious that I would need to get an MRI for,” she recalled. “But weeks after, it was still hurting. Later I went in and found out that I had also torn my meniscus on my right knee.”
Medically retiring from soccer was a real consideration. She mulled around the idea of quitting soccer and just focusing on school instead. While the thought of ending her sports career lingered on her mind, she also knew she wanted to continue with the game.
“I feel like if I tore my ACL for the third time, four or five years ago, I would have fallen apart. Instead, this time I took it positively,” said Tsarofski. “I told myself, 10 months and I can come back, so for now I’ll just focus on school and go work out at the gym.”
She was determined to one day return to the field with her teammates and compete. Tsarofski constantly trained to get back on the turf to continue to play and to enjoy what she did for so many years. Aside from her teammates and coaches, a person in her life that has always supported from the beginning was her father, Jim Tsarofski.
The GCC alum and football player saw her grow throughout the years and has continued to encourage her at every single one of her games.
“I’m really, really proud of her. She has overcome so much adversity and injuries,” said her father.
The athlete has taken the kind of humility and love that her father has taught her, and bestows that same love to her teammates. She wants to make sure that every teammate feels successful and takes pride in their work, in the way that she does.
During a home game against Imperial Valley, the Lady Vaqs pulled out a huge five to one victory. As she looked back at statistics after the game, she recognized that the goals scored were entered incorrectly. It showed that she scored three goals, and she knew she only had two goals. Immediately, she headed out to the scorekeeper and asked them to change the error.
“I just want my teammates to get recognition, because I know it probably didn’t feel good to have scored a goal and not have the credit for it,” she explained.
Her maturity truly speaks for itself. She never holds back what’s on her mind and cares for every single one of her teammates and others around her.
Haley Tsarofski has used the adversity she has gone through and learned from it. She hopes that she will get a full ride athletic scholarship to play soccer at a four-year school. She continues to work hard to achieve that goal and to one day prove to herself that anything is possible, even if the odds seem impossible.