By John Philip Wyllie
Following in the footsteps of older her sisters Angelica and Diosolina, Veronica Valderrama is making a name for herself in local high school soccer. But unlike her skillful siblings, “Vero” as she is known on the campus of Otay Ranch High School, plans to parlay her play into a collegiate scholarship.
“I’ve made a verbal commitment to play next season for San Diego State,” says Valderrama, the daughter of two Mexican immigrants. At the moment however, she is more focused on winning a league banner for the Mustangs.
“Vero never seems to get tired and always works hard,” according to Mustangs head coach, Mike Diaz. “Where other players would die out she will keep fighting. Skill-wise, she is very, very technical. Her first touch and first pass are real precise and on point. Her most important skill though, is that she rarely loses the ball.”
Valderrama plays in the Mustangs central midfield where she serves as the team’s primary playmaker, but she can also uncork a blistering shot and ranks among the team’s top goal scorers. It is no wonder that she has attracted the attention of several college coaches. It also hasn’t hurt being the younger of a Mexican National Team mainstay, Diosolina Valderrama.
While the Mustangs have struggled so far against some tough North County teams, they feel that playing that stronger competition will help them as they begin heading into their league season.
“Most of the games that we lost were very close and we played against some very good teams,” Valderrama said. “(Playing that tough competition) has helped more than it would to be playing a lot of weak teams and winning. We are hoping that we can compete for a banner. I think we can if we play hard and play as a team.”
At some point down the road, Valderrama might like to follow in her sister’s footsteps and play for Leonardo Cuellar and Mexico’s women’s national team. She has had some limited experience with Mexico already.
“When the Mexican U-20 team was preparing for the World Cup I went to a tryout, but I was still at that point coming back from a (knee) injury, so I wasn’t able to go at it full speed. They invited me to come back, but at this point I’m not sure about that.”
Right now her focus is where is should be, on winning what would be the first wo-men’s soccer league banner for Otay Ranch High School.