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Lebanon Trail High School News

The Vanguard

Lebanon Trail High School News

The Vanguard

Lebanon Trail High School News

The Vanguard

A Soccer Star In The Making: A Conversation With Bella Pasion

Lydia Nitz

Summer breeze, summer sun, and a thousand possibilities ahead; this past season provided a wide range of possible activities: from blockbuster movie premiers to long-awaited album releases, this summer had it all. Particular experiences vary from person to person, for instance, there was an LT student that was busy the entire summer because she was away at a camp. And yes, it’s understandable that the first image that the brain conjures at the mention of “summer camp” is the regular woodsy setting with marshmallows by the fire and terrible guitar songs—you know, like the Disney TV show, Bunk’d. And yet, when Senior Bella Pasion came back to school after summer vacation she did not have a normal story to tell. Instead of eating roasted marshmallows she had soccer training, and instead of capture the flag, she played for the Philippines Women’s National Soccer team in the Women’s World Cup. Talk about a memorable summer! 


This story of an epic professional soccer player in the making began a long time ago, considering Pasion started down the soccer path when she was around three years old. When asked about her first years in the sport, the soccer player gave a quick debrief of how it all works. 


“When you first start soccer you start out with [recreational], and then I think I probably got into a club, like more competitive stuff, maybe when I was seven or eight,” Pasion said. 


Additionally, Pasion’s long lasting involvement with the sport led to her explaining the impact that soccer has had on her life and how it’s her safe place. 


“I just think the sport, when I play, takes away all my problems,” Pasion said. “And all the friends I’ve created—I’ve created a lot of best friends through soccer, and I’ve been with them ever since. Like a girl at this school, Micayla Decker, I’ve been playing with her and we’ve been on the same team for ten years [now], so we’ve grown up together.” She also mentioned that she’s known for a long time that she wanted to become a professional. “I think I always knew I wanted to take soccer far because I never wanted to branch out with other sports even though my mom told me to try other things. I was like ‘no, I want to always do soccer.’”


Considering Bella’s history with soccer, and how her relationship with the sport has changed throughout the years, she shared her experiences with high school soccer, explaining that playing for the school is less stressful and makes it more fun. 


“If I ever get stressed either doing club stuff or my international soccer, I think school just gives me an opportunity to just relax and not be so tense on myself when I’m playing,” Pasion said. “And I like doing it, like I love the people that I’m close with on the team.” 


Playing for a club and a high school’s soccer team has its differences, and Bella explained that—at least for her—the major differences between the two is that at school she gets to learn about proper management and gain insight in what it takes to be a leader on the field, which provides a lot of crucial knowledge. On the other hand, she continued, she doesn’t really take on leadership roles within her club team, but her participation in it provides her with other experiences that will nevertheless hone her skills. 


Additionally, Pasion went on to explain how it feels now that she’s playing for the Philippines international team while also keeping up with the school’s soccer team and her club team.


“It has definitely changed, like going from high school to international stuff, but I definitely learned a lot playing internationally,” Pasion said. “It’s definitely different, like the speed of play, [and] I’d say my IQ has gotten better playing.”


 She also said that game days for the team here at the school are drastically different from those with the international team.


 “It’s different because there’s like thirty thousand people, thirty or thirty-five thousand people in the stands, so it’s really loud and I just think hearing the cheering—I mean obviously there’s cheers at the school, it’s just definitely not the same, though,” Pasion said. “Like, you realize the type of environment you’re in, like you are on the world stage. And with fans from my team and then just from the other team it’s so loud it’s like you can’t really hear yourself think when you’re on the field. Or even just standing there before the game even starts just going around and just thinking to yourself and looking at everyone, but yeah, it was super cool. Surreal moment, for sure.” 


In February of 2023, when Pasion made her international debut with the Under Twenties team, she said that the first campaign was from February to mid-March, and after that it was when the senior team contacted her. She explained that it happened around April. 


 “That was the first time I’ve ever played internationally with the senior team [and] older girls,” Pasion said. “And [then] I then I played in the first round of Olympic qualifiers.”


The fact that Pasion is doing all of this whilst simultaneously being in school is a feat that should not go unnoticed. Balancing education and sports is already considerably hard for an average school athlete, with the addition of the extra commitment and responsibilities that come with being in an international team. Consequently, Pasion explained that since last year she had to learn how to balance everything properly, and that it proved to be difficult.  


“I think before, when I was just doing club and high school it was definitely easier,” Pasion said. “You’re still at home, like you can still manage your time. Obviously I’d be waking up really early, I’d say my usual morning alarm would be around three [am] to do school work if I didn’t have time, cause like when I get home from school I don’t really have the energy to do homework, so I kind of just take a break and then I have to go to club practice. But by the time I get home I’m tired so I sleep and then wake-up probably around three. However, when I started leaving internationally it definitely got hard because I’d be out of school for like two and a half or three weeks, so being behind and then in completely different time-zones from where I was hard to balance. Just trying to get everything done without a teacher.”


She mentioned that having to do Pre-Calculus while playing soccer was probably the best example she could give about how the entanglement of her student and player responsibilities was very chaotic for her. 


“Sometimes it’s not like I’m a hundred percent focused on my school work when I’m there (away on a trip) cause I’m also trying to make sure I’m not doing bad, but at the same time I know I have to keep up with school,” Pasion said.


Understandably, trying to keep the scales of her life from tipping have proved to be a challenge for Pasion, but it’s a challenge she will happily take on considering that she is actively working towards her dream. 


“It’s hard, but I mean I thrive for it,” Pasion said. “I like going, I love to travel, and soccer makes it so much more fun. That’s something I really like about it.”


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About the Contributor
Carmen Laveglia Marin
Carmen Laveglia Marin, Staff Reporter
Carmen, a senior, loves to read and write books. She has enjoyed writing- especially fantasy- since she was eight, and she couldn’t wait to join Newspaper when she heard about it. Carmen also wants to pursue journalism in college, so she believes that Newspaper is the perfect opportunity for her. She also likes to practice her theatre scenes in her free time.
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