By Laura Amato
Marcela Aguirre knows a good opportunity when she sees one. She also isn’t one to back away from a challenge.
The Bayside standout knew joining the PSAL’s international soccer team—which will send 40 rising seniors to Spain this month—was both an opportunity and a challenge. So naturally she was interested.
“Coach [Magdalini] Kassimis called me and she told met hat there was this trip to Spain,” Aguirre said. “She had to pick only one player and I was the one chosen from Bayside. I couldn’t believe it really. I just thought it was a really cool chance.”
Aguirre went through the league’s two-day tryout process in June and was quick to find her footing with some of the city’s top soccer stars.
It wasn’t always easy. After all, she’s faced off against several of her now-current teammates during the regular season. But as far as Aguirre was concerned, that was simply part of the challenge.
And she loved every moment of it.
“The focus was really on our communication with the other players and getting to know all of them—because they all came from different schools,” Aguirre said. “The second tryout was a few weeks later and they had us go through a whole bunch of drills. Then we played a full game on the field.”
Aguirre learned that she had made the team just a few days after the second tryout and when she saw her name on the PSAL website, she had to admit, she was more than a little thrilled.
“I was so incredibly excited,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity and a chance to play against some incredible competition. I’m excited to get to know all the girls and see how well they play.”
Aguirre isn’t lacking for confidence ahead of the trip. She’s been playing soccer at Bayside for several years now and is coming off a junior season that saw her rack up nine goals and two assists.
This trip however—which gets underway Sunday—is a chance for Aguirre to fine-tune those skills and test them against brand-new competition. She is anxious to see how she fares.
“It’s a short period of time, but we can get a lot of work done,” Aguirre said. “The coaches told us this trip is just to make us better soccer players.”
Of course, not every moment of the trip will be on the soccer field—some of it will be spent watching soccer as well. The PSAL teams will take in a Barcelona game and will also train at the team’s practice facility.
“We might get to meet a few players and I’m really, really excited for that,” Aguirre said. “That’s something I never thought would happen.”
Aguirre knows that the trip to Spain is going to be a whirlwind. She knows it won’t be easy, but she also knows it’s a golden opportunity—particularly with the high school season right around the corner.
Aguirre is determined to get better during her week in Spain and she’s anxious to bring that talent back to Bayside this fall.
“It’s a chance for us to show our skills over there,” Aguirre said. “This could open up a lot of doors and people could see you play and it’s just great experience.”