Claire Cerda ’15 is one of three captains of the Wellesley soccer team. Cerda, who hails from Miami, Florida, has played goalie for Wellesley for the past four years, and was named the NEWMAC Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 15. In that week’s game against the Lesley University Lynx on Sept. 10, Cerda blocked each of Lesley’s scoring attempts in 105 minutes of play.
The Blue is currently tied for a sixth place ranking in the NEWMAC with an overall win-loss-tie record of 7-3-2 and an in-conference record of 1-1-0.
The Wellesley News spoke with Cerda to discuss her career as a goalie, the contagious positivity of the team and what to expect from Blue soccer for the rest of this season.
Laura Brindley (L.B.): How old were you when you started playing soccer?
Claire Cerda (C.C.): I started when I was about four years old, but then I quit when I was five because of the hot weather [in Miami]. However, I picked it back up at six and have been playing ever since.
L.B.: Who or what inspired you to play?
C.C.: For a while, it was just for fun. As I got older, great coaches and teammates inspired me to push myself to be the best that I could be. Many of the teammates who inspired me the most when I was younger still have a presence in my life today, and they continue to inspire me to play and work my hardest.
L.B.: Why did you decide to play soccer at Wellesley?
C.C.: I wanted a place where I could play soccer and get a great education. The work-play lifestyle for an athlete at Wellesley was a big factor. Also, playing a sport keeps you in shape and healthy. Wellesley is great because there is a team dynamic where everyone, first year through senior, can make a difference.
L.B.: What is the hardest part about being a goalkeeper?
C.C.: If you make a mistake, it is very visible. On the field, there is always someone there to back you up and recover from a mistake. As goalkeeper, you are the last line of defense. A good goalkeeper must have a short-term memory. If you miss a goal, you must stay focused on the next ball that comes your way and not let one mistake offset you for the rest of the game.
L.B.: Have you played other positions besides goalie?
C.C.: Before I was nine, I played midfield and forward, but since I started playing goalie, I’ve never “officially” played another position.
L.B.: What is a typical day at practice like?
C.C.: First, we bring out our gear to set up for the warm-up. As captains, we make sure that cones are set up and everything is ready for the team to warm up. Then, we stretch as a team. Next, the goalkeepers go with our assistant coach, Caitlin Pickul, to do our warm-up of catching, footwork and diving. Sometimes, we do high-ball drills and other times we do a distribution of playing with our feet. After twenty to twenty-five minutes, we are incorporated back with the rest of the team for drills. Lastly, we cool down together.
L.B.: What are some of the goals for yourself and the team this season?
C.C.: As a captain, it is hard to set goals for myself. We have such a young team that brings such an exciting and positive spirit, and I believe that this positive energy can lead us to victories against big teams such as MIT and Springfield. One goal that I have is to keep the positive energy remaining and growing for future seasons. Also, I hope to leave a legacy as a team leader that helped bring optimism to the team. The wins of the season would be icing on the cake for a season that started off with such high energy during preseason.
L.B.: What has been your most memorable moment in Wellesley soccer?
C.C.: It is hard as a goalkeeper because you see the “moments,” such as game-winning goals, from afar. During preseason, everyone is excited for the season to start, and this motivating energy really sticks out for me.
L.B.: Do you think you will continue to play after college?
C.C.: I think I will take a bit of a break and let my muscles recover. I will develop my own workout routine and probably go on more long runs. After I take some time off, I might join an indoor or summer league.
L.B.: Who is your favorite professional soccer player?
C.C.: Hope Solo, the U.S. Women’s National Team’s goalkeeper. There is a lot of negative publicity surrounding her, but she is a great influence on upcoming goalkeepers.
Blue soccer’s next game is on Saturday against the Mount Holyoke Lyons at Mount Holyoke in South Hadley, Massachusetts.