Childhood Passion Unfolds on Soccer Field, Inspires Team

Second year Glendale Community College student, Janet DeLaO is a standout soccer player and inspiration to her soccer team, according to her coach, Jorge Mena.

Since the season began DeLaO has averaged one goal per game, scoring four in one game.

“She misses the easiest ones, but puts in the hardest,” said Coach Mena about her goal attempts. “She’s a ‘nines.’ She is a very good center forward,” said coach Mena, referring to the nickname he uses to describe her. “She’s an excellent dribbler, very finesse and is a great finisher,” he added.

Her on going soccer career includes playing three years on a club team, the Verdugo Hills High School team and the GCC soccer team. DeLaO said she would love to pursue soccer after transferring from Glendale College.

DeLaO’s biggest inspiration is her father, a former professional soccer player for the El Salvadorian national soccer team. Taking after her father who played as a midfielder and forward, DeLa O plays forward as well.

“My dad has taught me everything I know about the sport. Ever since I was little he would dress me in his soccer jerseys and we would kick the ball around,” she said.

What DeLaO likes best about playing soccer is being part of a team.

“Working together as a team, meeting new people and making new friends are some of the best things about playing together. Plus it feels good to show off some of your skills and beating the other team,” said DeLaO.

DeLaO wants to transfer to Cal State Northridge because their soccer team is a division I team.

“Janet will easily make it onto a division I or II soccer team,” said her coach, Jorge Mena. Coach Mena said he believes that she definitely has a future in soccer. If her plans of playing soccer on a university level do not work out, she plans on transferring to Cal State of L. A. since it caters to her major, Administration of Justice.

When asked about what she thought of herself as an athlete who regularly contributes to winning games, she responded, “I don’t like saying I’m a great or good player, but I guess you could say that. Soccer is just something I have always played.”

According to Coach Mena, “Janet is a quiet person who gets everything done, but rather than vocally leading a team like some players, she carries the team on her shoulders. She is one of those great student athletes you get lucky to coach once every ten years.”

DeLaO’s favorite athlete is American soccer player, Mia Ham. “I think she’s of the best female soccer players. The fact that she has scored more goals than any man or woman professional soccer player is really amazing,” she says.

Despite the competition to to reach the professional level, DeLaO said she would like to follow in her father’s footsteps.