Charger sports spotlight: Gabriela Chavez

Charger Sports Spotlight, our new section highlighting sports teams and players at the university, begins with Gabriela Chavez, a senior health science major from Massachusetts. She is a center-midfielder for the University of New Haven Women’s Soccer Team.

The goal of her last season here is, to cherish the moment. “The pandemic has put a halt on many things in the world for almost a year now. You never know when things like this are going to occur and take things away from you so quickly so you just have to roll with the punches,” she said. Whether it be an actual season game or a scrimmage against another school, Chavez is trying to make the most of her last season.

Soccer, according to Chavez, has been in her blood since she was three years old. Between her uncles, father and brother playing (and Chavez competing with her brother to see who played better) Chavez has been surrounded by soccer. Her dad is from Ecuador, with a big soccer culture. Chavez was an active girl, who usually had her dad as the coach.

“Even though dad can be the toughest coach to approve,” Chavez said she “fell in love with the sport.”
One team tradition is for students to wrap their wrist with athletic tape and write who they play for on the tape. One side would read “UNH Soccer team” while the other side reads whatever Chavez personally plays for, such as “family” or “friends” or even as simple as “So I don’t have to do homework.”

After not having the opportunity in the fall, Gabriela hopes that one of their potential scrimmages will be a “senior night.” No athlete ever wants to stop playing but a senior night is a great way to end a career. Chavez said that she has already thought of a career after the University of New Haven and soccer and has begun to apply for nursing schools.

For now, Chavez hopes that the team can get together one more time. With COVID-19 protocols, teams are only allowed to train in small groups. One thing she tells the underclassmen is to “step up to the plate,” as their turn is next once the seniors graduate.

Chavez has had many great memories from being on the soccer team like scoring her first goal at home with her family in attendance. She hopes to make more memories in soccer and her last semester.