Student athlete profile - Isabella Walls-Rodriguez

What was your goal heading into your senior soccer season?

Just trying to make it far as we can in the season and postseason and building a team where we can actually achieve that.

When did you start playing soccer?

I started when I was about 7. My family was living in Turkey, and I was the only girl on my first soccer team there.

And then you moved to Italy?

Yes. I was part of the first girls soccer team at my school there. It’s always good to just be a part of something new.

How is youth soccer different in the States?

There are no club teams (overseas). It goes through the schools. Soccer there is a lot more community-centered. Everyone comes out to watch.

What position do you play?

I started off playing defense, mainly outside back. Then I moved to center back, and this year I’ve been playing forward. My dad likes that I’m playing a more offensive position now.

How would your teammates describe you?

Kind-hearted, versatile, a good sense of humor. I think I just try to bring people up when they’re down.

What else are you involved in at Central?

I’m on the executive board for Habitat for Humanity — we’re going to West Virginia this summer to build a house. I’m also in Microfinance Club and Women in Engineering. I’m going to Wake Forest University to study engineering.

What do you like to do for fun?

Go on runs, play pickleball, take walks with my family..

Why does head coach Tony Madonia like having Valls-Rodriguez on the squad?

Isa is such an integral part of this team, program and community. As a soccer player, she communicates well, always has a great attitude and is a versatile player, chalking minutes both as an outside back and a forward. She brings more than just talent and athletic ability to the team, though. She is an excellent community member in and outside of the classroom and is an extraordinary young person in our community.

— profile by Ken Knutson, photo by Jim Slonoff

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean