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Local Sports Hero

01 September 2017 Written by  By Michelle Lassle

 Makeila Yancey was born to be an athlete. Her parents signed her up for sports as young as three years old, one of which was soccer.

“My sister played soccer, and I would kick the ball back and forth and dribble it up the sidelines during her games,” said Makeila. “My parents signed me up, and I fell in love.” By the age of seven, Makeila had already switched to competition soccer with Impact and joined the Aquaknights swim team. After a few years at the competition level, Makeila began to take soccer very seriously and transitioned over to West Coast Soccer in Livermore. “I was at State Cup for Impact, and a coach from West Coast saw me play,” said Makeila. “He liked the way I played so he asked me to try out for his team.” After her mother read more about the league, she learned that the person who started it was former Earthquakes player and Olympian Troy Dayak. Makeila had been searching for more of a challenging team with a higher caliber of players to help her improve and build on her skills, and she knew West Coast would give her the training she was looking for. So, she tried out, made the team, and began the multiple-days-a-week commute over the hill.

For soccer Makeila plays both forward and midfielder; however, when she was younger she started out as a defensive player. She even played goalie for a little bit while her team was searching for someone to fill the position. From defense, she moved into midfield and was only recently bumped up to forward where she prefers to be. “As a forward I can score, but I can also help the midfield,” said Makeila. “As a midfielder, I have more options. I can still defend and help out the back, but I can go up as far as I want and score. I love scoring; I like the speed and pressure.” As for swimming, Makeila competes in all of the events but enjoys freestyle the most.

Once she entered sixth grade at Bristow Middle School, Makeila joined the school’s soccer team, as well as their wrestling and basketball teams. “My mom wrestled on the women’s USA team and was a four-time national champion and world silver medalist,” said Makeila. “She did it for eight years, and she wanted me to try it. I ended up doing really well in it and loved the adrenaline rush. It’s also a great form of self-defense.” Juggling so many commitments may seem like it would be overwhelming, but Makeila has already figured out how to prioritize. “Most of the time I’m doubled up on practices.” When school gets out at 3:05 p.m., Makeila has 10 minutes to get changed and be out on the Bristow soccer field for practice until 4:30 p.m. when she hops in the car and heads to Livermore. There she has practice from 5:30-7:00 p.m., leaving her to simultaneously eat dinner and do any homework that she couldn’t complete during school once she gets home. “I never get tired of it.”

As an eighth grader Makeila has already achieved a long list of accomplishments including records in freestyle and backstroke, and she is set to break another record in an upcoming meet. On her West Coast team, she scored the most goals in this past spring season with 26 (the next highest player scored six) and the most assists. She also scored the most goals for her Bristow team in both sixth and seventh grade. Makeila’s West Coast team recently traveled to Indiana for Nationals, making her team the only U14 team on the west coast to qualify, and they went to San Diego for Surf Cup, which is the best tournament in the nation.

“The motto of Surf Cup is ‘The Best of the Best,’” said Makeila. “Teams from other countries travel here to compete in the tournament. It’s really hard to get into.” For the fall season, Makeila’s team is slotted to be NPL (National Premier League) 1, which is the highest ranking.

School work may sound like it comes last on the to-do list, but her studies are a major priority for Makeila. “I have always gotten A’s,” said Makeila. “I didn’t receive my first B until my last quarter last year, and it was an 89%.” In addition to her athletic commitments and schooling, Makeila is also involved in WEB (Where Everyone Belongs) and leadership at Bristow. “Not every school has WEB, but we have the privilege of being able to offer it.” Between the two classes, Makeila helps do charity work, fundraising for the school, putting on dances, and meeting with advisory reps to help decide what they can do to make the school better.

When it comes to the future of her sports, Makeila has already made her mind up. “When I get to high school I just want to focus on soccer and swimming,” said Makeila. “Then after high school, my sole focus will be soccer. I would love to play in college and take it as far as I can."

Read 950 times Last modified on Friday, 01 September 2017 14:57
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