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Student saved by soccer

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Veronica Vazquez travels 40 miles from her home in Compton to attend classes at CSUN.Photo Credit: Samantha Tata/Staff Reporter

As one of CSUN’s thousands of commuter students, Evelyn Vasquez does not exactly break the mold. But she has broken the constraints of the daily drive and integrated herself within the campus community using a lifelong passion: soccer.

The sophomore commutes 40 miles from Compton multiple times a week, an arduous journey that, at one point, prevented her from enjoying her college experience.

“I come to class, I go home,” she said. “I didn’t really know anyone and I wasn’t involved.”

That aloof relationship with CSUN changed in Fall 2010 when Vasquez joined the campus soccer club.

“I’ve been playing since I was 8 years old and I’ve always been on a team,” she said.

The right forward said her hobby has allowed her to immerse herself in campus life.

“I’ve met friends, had more fun and felt a part of the campus,” she said. “Now I bump into teammates in the hallways.”

Vasquez played on her high school soccer team and local park teams. CSUN’s women’s soccer club has furthered her sporting experience, taking her to San Diego to play against club teams from Loyola Marymount University, USC and UCLA, among others.

“It’s pretty competitive,” she said. “It demands more time and dedication.”

The club practices twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday, meets for games on the weekend and dedicates their time to specific conditioning exercises, such as cardio and weight training.

Having played the physically demanding sport for 11 years, Vasquez said it has never crossed her mind to experiment in any substance that could hinder her performance.

“It’s kept me away from bad influences because I’ve been too busy,” she said. “I choose not to drink because it could affect my performance on the field.”

Vasquez, a child development major, said she aspires to be a child life specialist or psychologist and is debating entering the field in a clinical or educational capacity.

Regardless of her choice, Vasquez is confident in her decision to pursue this career path.

“I know this was what I wanted to do as soon as I took my first intro class,” she said.

Vasquez said she is most fascinated by the stages of life and theories surrounding childhood development. She is particularly impressed by the amount of knowledge children are born possessing.

Citing one of the more impressive pieces of information she has garnered, Vasquez said children can distinguish color.

“When they start sucking on the pacifier fasting, that means they notice a difference,” she said.

Vasquez plans to move into on-campus housing next semester and become even more involved in college life.

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