Photos by Ariana Crespo
Photo by Ariana Crespo

QCOSTARICA (By Henry Morales Navarro , Vozdeguancaste) Just 15 years old, soccer player Valeria Hernandez is an example of discipline and perseverance and has demonstrated that she knows how to wear her cleats in order to succeed at soccer.

Hernandez lives in the Chorotega neighborhood of Nicoya and in 2011, she joined the Nicoya High School girls’ team, serving as a central defender. She currently plays with the Nicoyan Athletic Association (ADN- Asociacion Deportiva Nicoyana), a team with which she has placed second in two national championships and is also in the qualifying process for the 2015 National Games.

Due to her discipline and perseverance, her soccer performance has evolved in important ways, to the point that scouts from the Costa Rican Soccer Federation have their eye on her. Last June, she was chosen for the under 17 National Selection of Costa Rica with a view to qualifying for the Jordan 2016 World Cup as a reward for her good level.

“I am very happy to be in the Selection. My biggest motivation is to play with the Selection and I’m putting forth the effort,” said Hernandez.

Besides the sport, the soccer player is in her 10th year at the Nicoya High School, must train twice a week with the national games combination and every two weeks, she has to travel to San Jose to join the National Selection workout.

“It’s been a little difficult because I need to train with Professor Juarez twice a week outside of class time, but when I have to go to San Jose, I need to get permission from the high school because I need to miss classes on Fridays. To travel to San José, we don’t have assistance for travel expenses, but I give my best effort so they continue to take me into account in the Selection, and my dream is to be in a world championship,” Valeria commented.

Hernandez believes she owes a large part of her development as a player to her training with ADN.

Photo by Ariana Crespo
Photo by Ariana Crespo

“I started playing with my cousins’ team of guys. Playing with guys allowed me to build physical strength because there is a lot of physical contract, but my best school has been playing in the Nicoyan Athletic Association. I feel that what Professor Juarez has instilled in us has been a great experience,” said Valeria.

José Luis Juarez, the instructor who has worked hard in training Valeria, emphasized the discipline and leadership skills of young soccer player.

“Valeria is characterized as a disciplined girl. She always gives the maximum effort to outdo herself, and this turns her into a leader in any group. In the Nicoyan Athletic Association, she has always been a regular first-team player and is a great leader—captain of the team— but she knows that soccer has no limit and she should always be improving,” Juarez remarked.

Valeria is the only Nicoyan who has been chosen for the under 17 Selection. However, she is joined by Merelid Bustos and Ziuliany Rodriguez from Santa Cruz, Madeline Downing from Liberia and Irela Rodriguez from Cañas.

The qualifying process will take place in the middle of next year, aiming at the world cup in Jordan to be held in March of 2016.