Cristina Martinez, a senior attending Great Neck South High School, just finished her final soccer season with the school’s team after compiling a strong 8-1-2 record. The successful striker and winger first fell in love with the sport when she was 3 years old.
“My dad played, so I would go and see him play,” said Martinez. “It is because of him that I got into the sport. What I love most about soccer is the speed and the energy you get when you score.”
Martinez first started playing soccer at the Manhasset Soccer Club. As she got older, she moved on to play for Albertson Soccer Academy and then Garden City Park Soccer Club. Now, in addition to playing for the New Hyde Park Lady Jaguars, she is one of the best players on the Great Neck South soccer team.
“What I have enjoyed the most playing on the team is that we have an amazing chemistry, and we have had winning seasons for a few years in a row,” said Martinez. “I’m just overall glad to say that I’m not only a part of the team, but captain of an amazing group of girls.”
Martinez was named to the all-class team in the school’s conference when she was a sophomore, which is near the top of her many achievements at the school. However, being named captain of her team is something that has meant a lot to her.
“There are many glorious moments when it comes to soccer, but the ones that mean the most are the ones that others see and say that that player deserves to be recognized,” said Martinez. “I believe that every day I give more and more of my effort as a captain to my team.”
One of her favorite games she played in was on Sept. 24 against Malverne High School. The team was down 2-0 at the end of the first half, but the players were able to pick themselves up and deliver three unanswered goals to win the match 3-2.
“It was an unforgettable game and an amazing outcome, and we as a team didn’t think it would be possible but we did it and we did it together,” said Martinez.
If she didn’t pursue soccer, Martinez would be interested in a career in criminology, as well as being an athletic trainer. However, she does want to continue to grow as a player and is looking at Cortland University as the potential next step, thanks to the university’s great athletic program and beautiful campus.
“I’ve always had the dream of being an inspiration to other girls that have the dream of going far by playing soccer and achieving great things because of the sport,” said Martinez. “That’s the same way Alex Morgan inspired me and the same way she keeps inspiring me.”