When Samantha Baclig began playing soccer for the city of Cerritos as a five-year-old, she was out on the field to have fun, just like the rest of her teammates. But when she got older, she became more serious about the sport and decided to take the next step.
“It was in fifth grade when I chose to play competitive club soccer,” says Baclig. “I really enjoyed it because I like the competitiveness of playing the game.”
Now a sophomore at Cornelia Connelly High School, Baclig is a center midfielder for the Koalas and enjoys playing on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Being a soccer player brings different parts of her personality to the surface.
“It makes me happy as a person, and it’s a way for me to express myself,” says Baclig. “I’m usually shy, but when I’m on the field, I’m talking to my teammates and having fun.”
As a two-year varsity player, playing against older and bigger opponents was initially a challenge for Baclig. But with the support of her teammates and coaches, she is not only working through it, but also excelling.
“Samantha is one of the younger players on the team, so it took her a bit to realize the skill and influence she has,” says Connelly soccer head coach, Evelyn Gomez. “By the middle of season, she stepped up where I needed her to step up, and she took charge when no one else could. Samantha cares about her performance and the success of the team. She doesn’t know her full potential just yet, but when she does, she will surprise herself with accomplishments she didn’t think were possible.”
Baclig’s hard work is central to her success thus far and is a skill she will use long after she has left the soccer field.
“I think one of the most important things I’ve learned is to never give up and to always be hard working,” says the 15-year-old. “In soccer, if you don’t put in the work, it shows. That’s the same thing with life.”
Baclig serves her Connelly community through Campus Ministries as the Commissioner of Liturgy, where she arranges and coordinates school mass. She also participates in journalism and yearbook classes.
The Fullerton resident has possible plans to pursue environmental studies in college and will likely continue to play soccer there recreationally. Baclig credits her father for much of what she has learned about the sport, and her faith plays a large role in how she approaches each game, including setting aside personal time for prayer.
“I feel like when I’m playing on the field that God is guiding me throughout everything I’m doing,” says Baclig. “I feel like no matter what happens, win or lose, there’s a reason for it. You just have to trust God.”