SoCal Goalkeeper Plays Professional in Mexico
“[everyone] will face many challenges but playing abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not many individuals get to experience.”
From Downey, California, to Puebla, Mexico, Siena Ruelas continues to add to her soccer career as she is now a professional goalkeeper for the Club Puebla Femenina.
Starting in Downey, California, Siena started playing soccer when she was eight years old. Throughout her high school career, she realized that she had the talent, skill, and determination to one day play as a goalkeeper at the collegiate level. In 2016, Siena and her high school team won the Sunset League Championship. By her sophomore year, she verbally committed to the University of Washington.
Filling her Role Models Shoes
Hope Solo, a former World Cup champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist for the US Women’s National Team, was one of the top goalkeepers at the University of Washington. Siena shared, “she was always someone I looked up to growing up… I’ve always admired how she played and that she was a goalkeeper, unlike any other female keeper that I had seen. Going to UW, her alma mater, and meeting her debut record holds a special meaning to me.” With future soccer goals in mind, Siena said that competing in the Pac-12 conference, allowed her to be “able to compete and hold [her] own against power schools with talented players ranging from different yet high-level backgrounds.” This is when she knew she could do even more.
At the University of Washington, Siena Ruelas has seen a lot of success with her four-years with the Women’s soccer team. When asked about her more memorable accomplishments in the 2019 season, she said “during my junior season, I was awarded the Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week honor for my debut match against top-ten ranked Florida.” During this match, Siena made seven saves which were the most since Hope Solo’s debut.
Playing Stock Rising
During her fourth year with the Huskies, Siena would go on to become the PAC-12 Goalkeeper of the Week for the second time in her career. As a senior, she knew she was not done with soccer yet. During her final months at UW, she was preparing to advance to the professional level. Not only would she play at a high level, but she would now travel and live in another country and adapt to a different language. Siena was recruited to play for the Club Puebla Femenina in Puebla, Mexico. “Within a week or so with the help of my agents I was able to communicate with several clubs and made my decision on committing to Puebla soon after,” Siena explains
As a Latino herself, Siena has grown up exposed to the Spanish culture and language within her family, however, she admits, “the most challenging thing has been adapting to solely speaking and hearing Spanish. Speaking Spanish in the USA is slightly different than it is here in Puebla, with lingo, phrases, and accents. Not to mention the soccer lingo was completely different than what I thought it would be. I thought my Spanish was really good but upon arriving, I realized there was so much more to learn.” Despite moving away from her family and hometown, Siena considers this experience to be “a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
New Opportunity to Grow
When considering moving outside of the U.S., a piece of advice that Siena would remind herself of was to always be open-minded. “You meet so many new people, get to experience a different culture, language, travel, and live in a new way that’s unlike your home nation. But it is worthwhile.” She added that “[everyone] will face many challenges but playing abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity not many individuals get to experience.”
Preparing for a six-month-long season, Siena continues to reach her dreams as she just recently had her first debut with her team. Only a few months into Siena’s professional experience, she explained how “the pace of life is so much more relaxing than what I am accustomed to having lived in large cities such as Los Angeles and Seattle… but playing here I have been able to find a new love for soccer as the sport is the most popular… and representing a club is viewed with such respect and honor that it makes you beyond grateful for the opportunity to be here.”
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By : Vanessa MillsapsGame Plan Intern