Lady Tarpons’ Polsky signs with Texas College
By: STEFAN MODRICH
PORT ISABEL— Celia Polsky comes from a family with robust athletic genes.
Her sister Debbie Schooley played soccer and participated in cheerleading, and sisters Samantha Garza and Zenida Garza played volleyball.
Polsky was a three-sport athlete herself at Port Isabel, although she eventually dropped volleyball to focus on tennis and soccer, the reason why the senior was the center of attention at the school’s gym on Wednesday afternoon.
With her family seated next to her and former and future coaches and friends watching, Polsky signed her intent to play soccer and study biology at Texas College in Tyler, two hours east of Dallas.
The Steers compete in the NAIA and the Red River Athletic Conference.
“I feel very blessed to have her,” said Texas College coach Marco Mthembu. “I’m very excited to have a leader like her. I feel very honored to have this great responsibility to mentor her in my program.”
Polsky said she is interested in pursuing dentistry and becoming an oral surgeon after college, in part inspired by her own experience of having braces.
“I like taking out teeth,” Polsky said, flashing a smile. “I’ve seen videos and I’ve gone to an oral surgeon myself.”
From an early age, observers knew Polsky had potential. Port Isabel head coach Jesus Cardenas shared an anecdote about his first introduction during Polsky’s signing ceremony, as he recalled another coach describing an intelligent and hard-working player with a “cannon for a leg” – only to be disappointed when they found out she was still in seventh grade and the Lady Tarpons would need to wait one more season to add her to the squad.
“Every year she had stronger conviction in herself,” Cardenas said. “She became more of a leader as the years (went on).”
Polsky did whatever was asked of her on the field and in the classroom – including switching from midfielder and wing to sweeper when injuries forced Cardenas to move her to the back line. She played well enough in her new role to earn District 32-4A co-defensive MVP honors.
“Sometimes you’ve got to make sacrifices for the team,” Polsky said. “And I did my best. I was really surprised and happy that I got (the award.)”
After Port Isabel’s season ended, the offers started to roll in for Polsky. But she said she wasn’t fond of the out-of-state offers she had received, preferring to be close to home. Cardenas recommended she attend the Rio Grande Valley Soccer Coaches Organization all-star game and practices. That set the evaluation process in motion.
Methembu said Polsky was on his radar after a series of reliable references, but he finally saw his new defender in person at the RGVSCO all-star game in Hidalgo on May 5.
“I was really blown away,” Methembu said. “I was impressed with her. I talked to her family, and everything balanced out. She has tremendous leadership qualities.”
The prospect of graduation and the looming responsibilities of moving beyond high school and into higher education and moving away from home can sometimes be overwhelming for student-athletes.
But Polsky has chosen to approach her new challenges and opportunities the same way she does during the rest of her life.
“I tell myself to breathe a lot,” Polsky said. “And to put a smile on my face.”