McDERMOTT — Playing soccer is — and has been — half the journey for Northwest senior Eva Reyes.
Reyes — the newest signee with Shawnee State University women’s soccer coach Natasha Ademakinwa’s program — hopes to use her opportunity to further her academic and athletic career at SSU by obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree to one day open a practice in the country where her parents reside, Honduras.
“I want to go back to Honduras; it means a lot to me to go back and help out,” Reyes said, on Wednesday, at her signing ceremony. “I want to be able to help people that haven’t had the opportunities or shots that I have. Some people are born into poverty and don’t know more than what they’re living in. My family was able to get out of that to get me to where I am today, so I want to take advantage of that. I want to be able to help people with my opportunity just like my parents did for me.”
On-the-field as a three-year soccer player under coach Tim Amburgey, Reyes was a member of the 2019 Lady Mohawks which won their first ever season-opening match — a 4-0 win over Piketon — as well as the program’s first postseason win in their 9-0 sectional semifinal victory over the Lady Redstreaks.
During her junior and senior seasons, Reyes earned all-SOC second and first-team honors respectively, as well as second and first team all-Southeast District honors as voted on by the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association.
“Eva’s been a big part of getting the program turned around here at the high school,” Amburgey said of Reyes. “Her hard work that she exhibits not only happens on the field, but also in the classroom. She’s a young lady who has sacrificed a lot to be here and she has a big future ahead of her.”
“I’m blessed to be able to do this,” Reyes continued. “I’m thankful to God for everything I’ve done; for my teammates, my coaches, and for my family. It means a lot to me because I’ve worked really hard to get where I am today.”
Continuing her career was something Reyes no-doubt wanted to do — as long as it was the right fit comfort-wise.
With Ademakinwa at the head of the program, and former Northwest teammate Sydnie Jenkins finishing her freshman season as a Bear, the transition into the next phase of her life will likely be a seamless one.
“When I was a freshman I got to talk to Natasha (Ademakinwa), I was a little intimidated by her at first,” Reyes said of her new coach. “But then I realized that she is a coach that cares about her athletes, she takes the time to work with her players and know how they play. With the staff, I felt very comfortable with how welcoming they were to me.”
The amount of friends and family of Reyes’ that were in attendance managed to fill some of the void with her parents residing in Honduras and physically unable to attend Wednesday’s signing ceremony.
While Reyes has been able to visit her parents during summers when school is not in session, neither parent has been able to see a game she has played in in-person.
However, she knows that the time and effort she’s put into her athletics and academics will soon pay off when she’s able to open the nursing practice of her dreams.
“It means a lot. My parents weren’t able to come since they live in a different country, having everyone here to support me kind of fills emptiness. I still miss them, but it means a lot to have my friends and family here — they’re all my family no matter what.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved