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The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

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The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Soccer prodigy Avillo scores training experience

Sophomore+Evie+Avillo+takes+a+team+photo+with+her+individual+team+from+her+Swedish+2008+National+Camp.+Avillo+spent+four+days+in+Sweden+to+pursue+a+dream+shes+been+working+towards+for+her+whole+soccer+career.
Courtesy Evie Avillo
Sophomore Evie Avillo takes a team photo with her individual team from her Swedish 2008 National Camp. Avillo spent four days in Sweden to pursue a dream she’s been working towards for her whole soccer career.

To many individuals, playing a sport collegiately or professionally doesn’t even cross their mind. For sophomore soccer star Evie Avillo however, that goal has come within reach. In mid-November, Avillo took her first steps towards fame when she traveled to Sweden, where she is a dual citizen. Avillo spent four days perfecting her skills with Swedish national team coaches and players at a national team camp.

“I thought about the fact that I’m eligible to represent Sweden. Out of curiosity I asked my coach if he could reach out to the Sweden coach, which he did, and he sent her [game] film and she seemed to like it, so she invited me to the camp,” Avillo said.

Avillo has been an asset for her club and high school team. Making the varsity team last year as a freshman, Avillo has so much potential for future seasons.

In preparation for one of the biggest moments of her growing career, Avillo had to train harder than ever. She spent countless hours taking the necessary steps to be successful.

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“I knew six weeks ahead of time that I was going and so for those six weeks I trained a ton. I did a ton of conditioning because high school soccer didn’t prepare me enough and I did extra work to make sure I was in my best shape,” Avillo said.

While being a dual citizen gave Avillo access to the country, Avillo wasn’t fully fluent in the language. The barrier between the coaches, other players and her was a challenge that she had to overcome.

“I know some Swedish and everyone there knew some English, so that was convenient because we were able to communicate. I feel like even when I was just listening to a normal conversation I had to use so much brain power just to understand what they were saying, so it was mentally tiring, but it worked out,” Avillo said.

From start to finish, Avillo was determined to be at peak performance every day. It might be a given to think it was grueling and long, but it was shaped like a summer camp.

Avillo’s average day consisted of waking up at 7:30 and having breakfast with her teammates. Then they went on to a team meeting to prepare for training that day. Practice was usually two hours before lunch and down time. They had time to do homework, relax or hang out with friends. Sometimes they would have a team bonding activity before dinner.

Past teammates have vouched that Avillo is a great athlete and an even better teammate.

“I think what sets Evie apart is that she is able to consistently do the basics perfectly every game. She doesn’t really make mistakes and she’s positive on the ball. I also think her humble attitude sets her apart mentally,” senior Marina Thorn said.

Support from coaches and teammates is one of the most important things an athlete needs to have. Coaches’ influence have been a big part of Avillo’s career and their support has been unwavering.

“I preach accountability, leadership, good decisions on and off the field and approaching life with a positive attitude and strong effort and Evie embraces these concepts and continues to develop as she heads down the journey she is on,” girls’ varsity soccer coach Neil Gottlieb said.

Avillo’s development has made her who she is today as a player and person. Avillo spent long hours training which forced her to take care of herself and prepare for her experience. Avillo didn’t make it this far in her career without self discipline or motivation.

“I would make sure you’re always working hard. The six weeks that I spent training really hard I thought to myself ‘why don’t I always do this?’ If anyone always trains like that they can get better. Always push yourself but don’t overdo it. Don’t get injured and don’t make it mentally exhausting. Take your chances; if you have an idea, like I did about Sweden, look into it and it might work out,” Avillo said.

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Anna Zucconi, Online Sports Editor
Senior Anna Zucconi is excited to participate in her first year with the pitch as an Online Sports Editor. In addition to writing for the Pitch, Anna enjoys going to the beach and playing lacrosse.
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