This soccer standout has committed to play for the University of San Diego

By JENELYN RUSSO     2/21/2016

It seems one of the rites of passage for youth athletes in Orange County is to play soccer, and Mackenzie Hansen got her start in the sport when she was five years old. The only difference is that once she started playing, she didn’t stop.

“It was just like every kid, trying out sports,” says Hansen. “I immediately fell in love with it and I haven’t missed a soccer season since.”

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As a senior and four-year varsity player for Rosary Academy, Hansen plays midfielder for the Royals, a role she enjoys for the mix of offense and defense required of the position. As a co-captain of this year’s squad, Hansen is using her depth of experience to lead her teammates.

“Being a captain is a really big honor,” says the 17-year-old. “I’m kind of a laid-back person. I’m not in your face… but I get the point across when there’s something important that needs to happen.”

Coming into her high school soccer career as a freshman on the varsity team, Hansen found the transition challenging, having to adapt to the older girls and different style of play. But the Royals varsity head coach, Sean Melendez, feels that Hansen has earned her leadership role.

“Mackenzie is a leader on and off the field, and is a great example of what it means to be a Rosary Royal,” says Melendez. “As an All-League player, Mackenzie never seems to panic, even in the most stressful situations. She is the rock for Rosary soccer.”

On campus, Hansen is involved with Rosary’s Make-A-Wish Club, as well serving as a member of the National Honor Society and the California Scholarship Federation. She also works with her community through the Assistance League of Orange, where she volunteers her time toward efforts that help local students.

Hansen takes pride in being a part of the Rosary community and knows that while she will miss her teammates, she has grown as a player and a person through their friendships.

“A lesson that I’ve learned from soccer is teamwork, how to work with other people and how to handle different personalities and ideas,” says Hansen. “I’ve also learned about taking ownership for my actions. It’s my job to fix my mistakes.”

The Villa Park resident will be taking the next step in her soccer career and has committed to play for the University of San Diego. While there, she plans to study biology to become a physician assistant. With parents who both played the sport, Hansen is grateful for all they have taught her.

“My parents are probably my biggest inspiration,” says Hansen. “Both my parents played soccer, but they’ve also taught me life lessons. They are people I hope to be like. I don’t think there’s a bad quality about them.”