Athlete of the Week: Giovanni Maya

Photo by Dawnmarie Fehr

Name: Giovanni Maya

School: Freedom High School

Year: Senior

Sport: Soccer

Coach: Sal Acevedo Jr.

About: When Giovanni Maya’s father put him in soccer as a young boy, no one knew where it would lead. Fast forward 14 years, and Maya is one of the top players on Freedom’s varsity boys’ soccer team.

“It was mostly my dad who wanted me to play at first, and then I just kept playing every year,” Maya said.

After a few years in a recreational league, Maya began to play competitively. He traveled for tournaments and worked on his game. Over time, his passion for the sport grew.

“I love playing rough. I love talking to my teammates about how to play well and being there to help them out any way I can,” Maya said. “I just love the sport.”

Maya said he loves the feeling he gets when walking onto the field and enjoys cheering his teammates on from the sidelines as much as playing. He keeps his game strong by eating clean, healthy foods — a habit he leaned from his mom. He credits his own determination with getting him as far in the sport as he has come.

Future: Maya isn’t sure whether he will focus on his major or his sport in college. Currently, he has no offers to play. He plans to become a dental hygienist.

Coach’s quote: “Gio is a leader on and off the field. As a captain, he understands his role and leads by example. On the field he is one of our top defenders. He is great at 1v1 defending and is very good defending balls in the air. His versatility allows him to easily adjust and play either center back or left back (he is left-footed). He is also an important part of our attack with his great dribbling, vision and passing skills. Gio is particularly dangerous on counter attacks due to his speed and agility."