Angelina Matute is a natural athlete.
As a sophomore she was told to pick up soccer to help with her conditioning for her main sport, swimming. Now that she’s a junior, Matute is one of the key players for the Digital Harbor girls soccer team.However, she says her success on the soccer field hasn’t come easy. A lot of hard work and extra hours have gone in to hone her skills in a little over a year.
“When I first started I used to trip over the grass or over my own two feet,” Matute said with a smile. “To get where I am I definitely thank my coach because she stays a half hour after practice, maybe an hour, just to work on extra stuff. It took me time. I couldn’t just work on stuff at practice. I had to work on my own.”
Matute is a three-sport athlete at Digital Harbor, participating in soccer, swimming and softball. Athletic director Lisa Martin, who coaches the soccer and softball teams, said Matute is a student of each game, always striving to get better when she can.
“She’ll turn on a game on the weekend and learn something,” Martin said. “She’ll rent a video of skills and say, ‘Oh coach, I want to learn that, how do I do that?’ She’s very enthusiastic about learning any part of the game that can make her better. That’s on the field and in life. Anything she can improve on she strives to do.”
In soccer, she’s a midfielder, which helps with attacking on offense and with defending when the opposing team is pressing to score. Her favorite soccer player is Abby Wambach of the U.S. National Team, who she began following during the Women’s World Cup this past summer.
Wambach’s known for her skill in heading the ball. Before following Wambach during the U.S. team’s World Cup run, Matute admitted she was a little timid when it came to heading a soccer ball—primarily because she wears glasses on the field. But if Wambach can do it, so can she.
“When I would head the ball I used to be so scared, with the glasses and all,” Matute said. “But I just go for it now.”
Matute also excels in the classroom, taking AP Psychology and honors classes. Next year, she will joint enroll with the University of Baltimore so that she can earn college credit as a high school senior. She already has the goal of going to college so she can one day become a pediatrician.
“I see how hard my mom struggles and I know we don’t have money, so if I get my classes now it’s less money in college,” Matute said. “And colleges want to see you go the extra mile if you want to get a scholarship.”
Martin said Matute’s academic success translates to the athletic arena.
“Those are the type of kids you want on your team,” Martin said. “You know they want to learn, they want to improve. They do good things. This summer, she went to a student leadership conference, just to improve her leadership skills. She’s a great all-around kid.”
by Jason Butt