HARLINGEN — In front of a bevy of friends and family, Harlingen South senior Klarissa Gonzalez signed a letter of intent Wednesday to play soccer at Our Lady of the LakeUniversity in San Antonio this fall.
Gonzalez has played on the Lady Hawks varsity soccer team for the past four years and was happy to finally put her future to rest.
“It means a lot to me to be able to go on and play at the next level,” said Gonzalez. “Having a coach from up there (OLLU) notice that I have the ability to play means a lot to me and shows that my hard work paid off.
“I’m going to miss the girls here, but at the same time it’s not going to hit me as hard because I’m going to continue my playing career at the next level.”
Gonzalez is no stranger to hard work and commitment. Off the field, the senior spent many hours traveling to her select team in McAllen as well as to and from games across the state.
“Traveling has been really crazy for me,” she said. “For instance, on the weekends I would have a game on Sunday in San Antonio then come back that same day. I’m really blessed that my mom was willing and able to give up her time for me to be able to do that.”
Another coach that has noticed the impact that Gonzalez has had on the team is Harlingen South head coach Omar Pedroza.
“Klarissa is one our team captains and is just an outstanding student,” said Pedroza. “She works really hard on trying to improve on the soccer field. She is very committed to her game and she really does have a strict diet that she follows. When she is not on the team you can really tell the difference she makes.
“She has worked really hard for four years to get to this level and I’m just really happy for her.”
One aspect that attracted Gonzalez to OLLU was the small-school setting, but it also didn’t hurt having a family connection to the educational institution as two of her older brothers have gone through the Saints’ athletic system, with one still a sophomore on the men’s soccer team.
“The university’s small-school atmosphere is something that really attracted me to it,” said Gonzalez. “I also really liked the feeling of the team when I went to go play and being able to travel with my brother to play is something that I am also going to enjoy.”