With older siblings who played soccer, Bella Beltran figured it was “just a given” that she would play too. But along the way, she found her own love for the sport.
“I started playing when I was four years old in AYSO…and I loved the competitiveness of it, even when I was younger,” says Beltran. “I just kept going with it. I loved it.”
An incoming junior at JSerra Catholic High School, Beltran started last season at center back for the Lions and then moved to midfield. The adjustment was both challenging and fun.
“It’s been different than what I’m used to,” says Beltran. “But I’m attacking a lot more, and I’m getting better at it each game. I really like it because…I feel like I can help a lot more and I can do a lot more at that position.”
Beltran’s love for the sport is most evident in the relationships she has built over the years. The 16-year-old still plays with many of the teammates who were there at the beginning of her soccer career, players who have become lifelong friends.
“I just love having teammates I can share victories and failures with together…and be there to support each other,” she says.
JSerra girls soccer head coach, Greg Baker, sees that Beltran treats her fellow Lions well, and in return, is respected and looked up to by her teammates.
“Bella is a leader, and leads those around her by positive reinforcement,” says Baker. “On the field, she is a very tough and determined player. And she not only defends her place on the field, but has grown into the role of defending her team by standing up for her teammates.”
Beltran’s goal is to play Division I soccer in college and would like to stay connected to sports by becoming an athletic trainer or nurse. The Trabuco Canyon resident credits soccer for her work ethic both in the sport and in school.
“It’s helped me be disciplined in everything I do,” says Beltran. “It’s also taught me to support the people around [me]. That’s helped me with my family, with my friends…being that type of person who can lift them up and make them the best that they can be.”
Beltran’s life verse, Jeremiah 29:11, (“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”) reminds her that, “We all have a journey…and I know God’s carrying me there every step of the way.”
There isn’t anyone more inspiring in Beltran’s life than her father, whose determination continues to motivate her both on and off the field.
“Whenever I play, I feel like I’m playing for him sometimes,” says Beltran. “I want to make him proud. He makes me want to do the best that I can do.”