Water polo is all in the family for Rosary Academy junior Amelia Gonzalez, as she and her older siblings followed in the footsteps of their mother and father.
“Both my parents played water polo,” says Gonzalez. “They ended up meeting when they were younger at the same pool.”
Gonzalez plays utility for the Royals, and what she feels she may lack in size and strength, she more than makes up for with speed and skill. Growing up at the pool means that being in the water is a way of life for the 16-year old.
“I’ve never played any sport other than water polo…and I personally think it’s fun,” says Gonzalez. “I feel like a mermaid because I haven’t had a sports experience outside of the water. It feels natural to me.”
As she prepares for the upcoming season, Gonzalez’s goals for herself are rooted in wanting to guide her younger teammates and develop her leadership skills, something Rosary water polo head coach Rory Bevins already sees in the three-year varsity player.
“Amelia is an up-and-coming leader for our team and someone we are looking to have a break-out season this year,” says Bevins. “She is a great outside shooter and is going to be a big part of our offense in the coming year. She has increased her work ethic in the last few months and is really taking to her new leadership role.”
Time management, balancing athletics and academics and silencing the doubts that often set in are skills Gonzalez knows she will take with her to college and beyond.
“To overcome the doubt, you have to push through it and believe you can do it,” says Gonzalez.
Away from the pool, Gonzalez serves through The PAL Peer Assistance Leadership Program, “a peer-to-peer youth development program…built upon a philosophy of students helping students.” She enjoys being able to contribute in a way that makes an impact.
“We get to help people who are struggling,” says Gonzalez, “and it’s nice to see that you can make a difference.”
Sharing a common faith with her fellow Royals means Gonzalez and her teammates have a connection in the pool that provides comfort during challenging times.
“If we’re struggling, faith is a big part of how we pull each other together,” says Gonzalez.
The Montebello resident would like to continue playing water polo in college, if the opportunity presents itself, and may have an interest in pursuing sports medicine. No matter the road ahead, she has been blessed with strong female role models in her life, including her mother and her godmother, who recently passed away. The strength and work ethic shown by both women have left an indelible impression.
“She works so hard for our family,” says Gonzalez of her mother. And in speaking of her late godmother, “She proved to me that you can do anything. You can achieve anything.”