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Prep soccer: No rest for the devoted

SCCS senior juggles three sports, after-school activities, religion and social life

Posted: December 19, 2010 11:15 p.m.
Updated: December 19, 2010 11:15 p.m.

Santa Clarita Christian School senior Joanna Masopust displays her volleyball jersey in her right hand and softball jersey in the left while wearing her soccer jersey. Masopust has played all three sports throughout high school, but she started playing soccer since she was 5 years old.

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There was nothing particularly taxing about last Friday night’s activities for Joanna Masopust.

She attended the Christmas formal dance at Santa Clarita Christian School, came home by midnight and went to sleep at around 1 a.m.

Nothing unusual for a 17-year-old high school senior.

It wasn’t until she woke up 13 hours later to find the sun going down on Saturday evening that Masopust, captain of SCCS’s soccer team, may have realized just how tired she was.

“I average probably four to seven hours of sleep a night,” she says.

It was the first she ever recalled sleeping in that late, but knowing the schedule she keeps, it’s no surprise.

She had just reached the end of another grueling fall season involving participation in both volleyball and soccer, along with Servant Leadership Crew, California Scholarship Federation and helping out at her church.

And that’s just the fall.

Before soccer season concludes, she’ll be headed to softball practice in the spring, which will feed right into Women’s Premier Soccer League season in the summer. All this while maintaining above a 4.0 GPA with a schedule replete with advanced placement classes.

For the last four years, that’s what Masopust has done with her life, and if you ask her, she’s enjoyed every minute of it.
“I just really like it at SCCS because you have Christian coaches and Christian teammates and you’re not only learning the sport, but you’re learning how to be a better person and you’re learning how to be closer to the lord,” she says.

Outside of her sophomore year, when she skipped a season of softball, Masopust has played all three sports for the school since her freshman year.

She hasn’t just played them; she’s excelled at them.

Her most notable sport is soccer, which she started playing at age 5 at the club level. She has since moved up to play for the WPSL in addition to her services with the SCCS team.

“As a player, she came and tried out her first year, and she was kind of surprised when I offered her a position,” says her WPSL coach Steve Cooper, who also coaches the boys soccer team at SCCS. “She was sophomore at a time in WPSL, which is basically collegiate and post-collegiate level.”

The WPSL season begins in the late spring, right around the time when softball season is wrapping up.

During the weeks of overlap, Masopust recalled going straight from softball practice, hastily changing out of her catcher’s gear as she was sprinting toward the field for soccer practice.

“She’s always running. She’s always going some place,” Cooper says. “A number of times she called me on the phone and told me, ‘Hey, I’m running a little late for practice.’ And that was OK.”

Soccer has always been Masopust’s favorite sport because of its physicality and reliance on team play.

She decided to expand into other sports partly because of her former long-time soccer club coach, Craig Eomurian, who died unexpectedly on New Year’s Eve of 2005.

At the time, Masopust was in seventh grade. At the end of that season, she decided to take a break from soccer until returning to it in high school.

“It was really hard to pick back up a (soccer) ball after that,” Masopust says of Eomurian’s death. “I love soccer, but it was very startling. I just needed to take some time away from it; so I just moved onto something else.”

Volleyball was the answer at the time. The only challenge was the transition into a sport she had never played before.
On several occasions, Masopust, who played setter for the team, said she tried to kick the volleyball as if she was still on the soccer field.

But that didn’t last long. By her sophomore year, she was playing on the varsity team.

“It was one of the greatest years of high school because it was actually a privilege to get out there and just play with the older girls on the court,” says Natalie Keoshian, who plays on both the soccer and volleyball team with Masopust. “We kind of had to stick together because we were the only underclassmen on the varsity team.”

In her senior season, she was named to the All-CIF Southern Section Division 4A volleyball team.

In softball, Masopust caught on even quicker, cracking the varsity roster in her freshman year.

“I had never played catch. I had never had a mitt. I had no idea what I was doing,” Masopust says of her first year at the sport. “Swinging a bat at a ball, that just didn’t make any sense to me.”

Now the starting catcher, Masopust has emerged as one of the best players on the team, according to softball head coach Ali Aguilar.

“She has a heart of gold. She’s a definite a leader in all her sports,” Aguilar says. “It’s been nice being able to see her play all her sports and seeing the way she leads her team.”

In the end, volleyball and softball were merely fun activities to fill time in the soccer offseason.

Masopust wants to play soccer in college and is already entertaining scholarship offers from The Master’s College, William Jessup University and Biola College.

“I can’t imagine just putting down a soccer ball and never playing again after this,” Masopust says of her final high school season.

In the meantime, she’ll make sure the slate of SCCS players that follow her know what it takes to play at the level she does.

“She’s very hardworking, and I think that shows to a lot of the younger player because when they see that somebody is working so hard toward a goal physically, it really rubs off,” Keoshian says.

Add role model onto the list of sports, clubs and everything else on Masopust’s plate.

Give her a break. She can sleep in as late as she wants.

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