Marissa Vasquez started playing soccer when she was four years old. Now, a senior kinesiology major and awarded member of West Coast Confrence’s (WCC) 2022 All-Academic First Team, she’s the embodiment of her motivations.
“I’ve always been so competitive,” she said. A native of Diamond Bar, Calif.,Vasquez said, “I did have some time where I didn’t play on a team, but I kept working and made it to college to play.” As WCC’s 2022 Offensive Player of the Week, her accolades have grown with her collegiate career.
“If something doesn’t work there are other paths towards a goal,” Vasquez said. Regarding her journey to becoming a student athlete, she explained, “It’s what I’ve loved and grown through.”
When Vasquez came to USF in 2020, she was a forward who had already received the WCC All-Freshman Honors. Three years later as a midfielder, having played and started all 19 games for the Dons last season, she said her perspective on what it’s like to be a student athlete has shifted.
“Coming in as a freshman I was so nervous,” she admitted. Starting during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she called it “a unique, different experience,” but said she wouldn’t change a thing.
Vasquez described balancing the sport with her education.“I think soccer helped me succeed in school,” she said. “I knew to keep playing my grades had to be good. [It] definitely taught me to have good time management.”
Part of that time management goes to her game day routines, which includes grabbing game day tea lattes with her teammate, junior defensive player Isabelle Esparza. “Oat lavender Earl Grey for me and jasmine for Isa,” she said with a laugh. Whether it’s listening to relaxing music or finding time for a quick nap, Vasquez said that her routines contribute to her success on the field, and in the classroom.
Vasquez reflected on her time playing soccer at USF. “I look back and think it’s crazy we’re already all seniors,” she said.“I’m way more confident and comfortable.”
This past Saturday, Nov. 4, was the team’s last game of the season, away at Knoles Field against the Pacific Tigers —the same team Vasquez began her collegiate career against.
“I always want to lead as an example,” she explained of the change she’s seen in herself from first-year to fourth. “Back then, and even now, I’m not the loudest on the field but I hope my game and effort speak for me and inspire my teammates and others around.”