When freshman Claudia Folkert was just twelve years old, she and her family endured the devastating loss of her father due to cancer. Since Claudia’s father was always her biggest inspiration, playing soccer, the sport she truly loves, became a challenge. But as she was taught, Claudia kept her head held high throughout the challenges, and this year she has landed a spot on the JV soccer team. She has even been pulled up to varsity for a few important games.
After the loss of her father, soccer—one of Claudia’s true passions—became difficult. The precious memories the sport evoked were tough to overcome, but Claudia knew she had to stick to her morals in order to become the player she knows her father would love to see.
“My dad was always the one to bring me to my soccer games and cheer me on,” Claudia said. “Once he passed, soccer became hard for me. It reminded me of him, but this actually helped me become the person I am today.”
As Claudia fought through the difficult time, she looked at the positive aspects of life to help herself continue pursuing her passion.
As she practiced and competed in soccer, she strove to continue putting her all into the sport and make her dad proud.
“Whenever I step onto the field, I know my dad is watching me, and I put everything I have out on that field to make him proud,” Claudia said. “This has made me stronger and taught me so many life lessons that I can apply on and off the field.”
Among those life lessons, Claudia has learned much about self-worth and determination. Her supporters and inspirations have taught her to ignore those who don’t believe in her and to always strive to be her best.
“The biggest life lesson I’ve learned through soccer is to believe in yourself and ignore the doubters,” Claudia said. “There will always be people in your life that doubt you and say you can’t, but prove them wrong.”
While Claudia has learned that life does not always go as planned, she has also learned that it is all about how you handle the hard times.
Soccer has proved to be the piece of Claudia’s life where she feels most free. Her time on the field is an important part of her life; she is able to escape from reality and put her all into something she is passionate about.
“Soccer has impacted my life greatly,” Claudia said. “It has almost become my getaway. When I step out onto the field, it’s like all my problems go away.”
On the field, Claudia has also been lucky enough to create relationships that hold the potential to last a lifetime. Through soccer, Claudia was able to meet her best friend, freshman Katherine Hartman.
After being watched at recess by Katherine, a good word was sent to Katherine’s coach when her team was down a player. Claudia was able to step in, and ever since, has never left Katherine’s side.
“Her team was down a player in a tournament, and she saw me playing at recess and decided to tell her coach I was good,” Claudia said. “One thing led to another, and I started playing with her. Ever since then, we’ve just clicked.”
As this is Claudia’s first year competing with a high school team, she is anticipating building connections with her new teammates. The changes that a high school team may bring can be intimidating, but Claudia embraced the change with open arms.
“Being on a high school team isn’t completely different from being on a club team, but there is no sport like a high school one,” Claudia said. “Being on the high school team is really cool because I get to represent FHC and show school spirit with girls who all go to the same school and experience similar things.”
Throughout Claudia’s life, she has learned to persevere and work through the difficult patches in order to continue doing what she loves. After having amazing inspirations to look up to, Claudia has learned the important life lessons that she will hold onto forever.
“The most important thing I’ve learned in life is to keep your head up,” Claudia said. “Life isn’t going to always go as planned, and it’s all about how you handle the hard times. It’s about getting back up after you fall and never being afraid to fail.”