Digital Mag Issues
Gullo Athlete of the Month -- Kingwood Park's Vanessa Valadez
December 17, 2012VYPE MAGAZINE - Houston
Kingwood Park Soccer
The Kingwood community has a rich history of athletic success at the high school level. From cross country to soccer, the Houston-area suburb has produced a plethora of athletic talent that has excelled at the collegiate level.
She might be two years away from taking the Big East Conference by storm as an SMU Mustang, but Kingwood Park’s Vanessa Valadez is certainly one of the area’s top-ranked junior forwards and is primed to carry the torch for the Kingwood community.
With top-notch speed, a keen sense of on-field awareness and the ability to find the back of the net, Valadez is quickly learning the ropes as one of the defacto team leaders on the Panthers’ squad.
“I’ve been pushing towards becoming more of a leader on my team and trying to push my teammates to the furthest that we can go in the playoffs,” says Valadez. “We have some new and better players on the team this year and I think that we’re going to be a better overall squad this spring.”
During her sophomore season, Valadez found the net on 27 occasions while dishing out 13 assists en route to the Panthers posting a 5-1-1 record against district competition before falling to Friendswood, 2-1, in the state playoffs.
To help lead her team to new heights this year, Valadez says that she’s refined her skillset while using those abilities to be more aggressive on the pitch to take on opposing players which should translate into scoring more goals. The junior credits her club team – Challenge Soccer Club – for giving her that edge.
“It’s a higher level of competition than high school,” she says. “There is a lot of ball movement and we work as a team. It’s allowed me to be fearless on the field and take on more players.”
While she still has two more seasons in a Panthers’ uniform, Valadez says that she is eager to begin her college career at SMU but maintains that she still has work to do before she graduates.
“It was important for me to make the college decision early,” says Valadez, who chose SMU over Sam Houston State and HBU. “Not having that pressure to commit will take away some stress and allow me to have fun and play the game while reaching our goals.”