Women’s Soccer Ready for Tourney Play

After suffering a tough loss last year in the semi finals, the Mavericks are looking to bounce back
even better than ever.

Midfielder, Senior captain Ileen Mejia and the Mavericks are having a strong so far with a 14-3 overall
record and a 7-1 record in conference play. The Mavericks are in search of their second East
Coast Conference (ECC) title since 2014.

Senior Captain, Ileen Mejia, of the Mercy Mavericks Women’s Soccer Team has been playing
soccer ever since she can remember. “I’ve been playing soccer ever since I was 10 years old and
I love playing it. One reason why I love playing soccer so much is because of my grandfather.
He pushed me to play and I haven’t stopped playing since then.” She stated. Ileen’s grandfather,
Victor Manuel Mejia Valencia, used to play soccer for the El Salvador national soccer team.

Although soccer is a very fun sport to watch, being the captain of a team can either be a very fun
job or be very stressful. Not everybody is suited to be a team captain. Captains must be very
vocal and make sure that everybody is on the same page. Team captains must be composed on
and off the field through the good and the bad times. Team captains must be able to lead a team
through their ups and downs and keep relationship amongst the players and the coaches.

“My relationship with the coaches and my teammates are pretty good. There are no complaints,”
she said.

Team captains must be outspoken, voice trois, and non selfish for themselves and their
teammates to be successful. Ileen shows great leadership and charisma while leading the
Mavericks to their only single loss of the season so far and winning two game in their games in
conference play.

“I feel like everybody looks at me as a leader, so I need to be on top of my game on and off the
field and make no mistakes in any situation.” She said. She became the team captain halfway
through her junior year.

“I think Ileen is a great captain. She pushes me every day to be a better player. She’s a very hard
worker and leads by example, I really enjoy playing with her.” stated Kendall Wright the Junior
left back on the team.

“Ileen is an amazing person to have as the main captain on the field. What I like is she knows all
the nooks and crannies of soccer. She is a very technical, physical player who controls the game.
I don’t just like playing with Ileen, I love playing with her,” said Rebecca Conway, a junior right
back and co-captain alongside Ileen.

Everybody has their own way to prepare for a game. From reading a book, listening to their
favorite artist and or song eating their favorite food, watching their favorite movie, or just by
simply doing the same type of stretches before every game, pre game rituals are a very popular
for athletes to get in the zone and mentally prepared for the game ahead of them. However, for
Ileen she has a different way to prepare for her games.

“I am very superstitious. I wear the same color pre wrap, the same color sliders, and same sports
bra every game,” Ileen said.

Injuries play a big part in an athlete’s life. Some athletes are lucky enough not to get hurt
throughout their career and some athletes have horrible luck in getting injuries very often,
sometimes they are to the point where they cannot come back from the injury at all. These
injuries can be cured within a few days and some injuries can be career ending. From sprained
ankles to torn ACL’s, injuries are the worse part in any athletes career. Some athletes even play
through the injuries and try to fight off the pain in order for themselves and their team to be
successful and some athletes sit out during the injuries and not risk playing on the injury to injure
it even more.

In Ileen’s case she had two major injuries that could have potentially ended her young soccer
career. In 2014 she tore her ACL and her meniscus that required her to have two surgeries.
“Well right now I’m currently playing with a torn ACL right now. I went to take a cross from one
of my teammates and a girl tackled me from behind. My foot got caught to the ground and my
knee just shifted out of place,” Ileen stated.

In 2014 the Mavericks won the East Coast Conference (ECC) title but ending up falling short in
the NCAA tournament. The Mavericks are off to an amazing start only losing one game
throughout a nine game spread and are not looking to slow down anytime soon.