Faith Harper will never forget where she got her start in the sport of soccer, running around on the farm fields near her home in Costa Mesa as a four year old and a member of the Green Grasshoppers.
“That’s where my love for soccer began,” says Harper.
A senior at Mater Dei High School, the four-year varsity player sees her fellow Monarchs as much more than just teammates.
“The family aspect of the game is really important to me,” says Harper. “I love having 10 other people on the field with me at all times.”
Having started as a freshman on the varsity team, Harper looked up to the captains and senior leaders with the hopes that she would be in that position some day. Now a captain on the team, the 18-year-old uses her role to provide both leadership and guidance to her younger teammates.
“As a leader, I want to be that person for everyone else on the team,” says Harper, “and be someone, both on and off the field, that they can go to and confide in, and have someone to look up to.”
Mater Dei varsity girls soccer head coach, Matty West, is grateful for the opportunity to coach Harper and watch her develop into an effective player and leader.
“Faith is a sensational athlete, a terrific teammate and a wonderful young woman,” says West. “She is so skillful, has incredible vision and continues to show growth. As one of our captains this year, it’s great to see her leadership and influence on her teammates. She cares deeply for all of them and has shown so much dedication to Mater Dei girls soccer.”
As a sophomore, Harper faced the challenge of back-to-back injuries that kept her away from the field for nearly a year. She admittedly struggled both physically and mentally during her recovery, but is grateful that God was in control the entire time.
“I had nights where I would think, ‘Why me?’” says Harper. “God has a plan for everything, and everything happens for a reason. I came back even stronger, and I thank him every day for that.”
Being able to represent the Monarchs as a student athlete holds a special place for Harper, but she’s looking forward to her next chapter where she will head to the University of Michigan to play soccer and study biology. As her strongest role model, Harper’s father has instilled in her that anything is possible, and the game itself has shown how the people around her can impact her success.
“It’s taught me that relationships help build strength, especially on the field, and throughout life too,” says Harper. “Strong bonds with people can help you go far, and surrounding yourself with the right people can help you achieve great things. I think it’s very central for having a successful life.”