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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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City College soccer player shares trials and joys of being new mother

Claire Geriak
Gizela Zermeno holds up her four-month-old daughter Amariz Zermeno and kisses her nose on Oct. 26 in Santa Barbara, Calif. Zermeno played for City College’s soccer team throughout her pregnancy, and her daughter has become a celebrity among the team.

Gizela Amariz Zermeno has loved playing soccer since she was 3 years old, now playing soccer at City College as a college student. Zermeno started playing because of her older brothers, one of which is also the head coach for the women’s soccer team, Coach Alex Zermeno. 

At an early age, she played flag football and doubled in other sports, but her passion has always been soccer. 

Alex Zermeno explained how his sister always brings energy, passion and experience to every game. He has coached many local players through club or high school teams, and coaching her is no different. 

“My brother has been my coach since I started playing competitive soccer… but I do have my moments when I need to remember that on the field he’s my coach not my brother,” Gizela Zermeno said. “But for the most part we’re able to compartmentalize pretty well.”

Gizela Zermeno plays as a midfielder, which according to her, is more her style than any other position on the field. 

“She’s never asked to play other positions, she always just plays where her team needs her. This year she [has] moved around a lot, but always understood the assignment,” Alex Zermeno said.    

Gizela Zermeno recently just had a daughter, and was playing during the season while pregnant. According to her, the most challenging part of playing while pregnant was all the traveling and not being able to keep food down. 

Nonetheless, what motivated her when she was down was having soccer as an escape, recalling treating the soccer ball as a best friend. 

“Soccer really helped me just ground myself and feel present,” she said. “I play for my daughter now, I don’t want her to grow up and think she was the reason I ever stopped.”

Some of Gizela Zermeno’s future goals include playing locally for the University of California Santa Barbara, or Westmont College, in order to stay home to help raise her daughter. 

Gizela Zermeno has the ambition to play professionally, but she wants to focus on her daughter. She had an offer to play division one soccer at Chicago State University, but did not take the offer due to safety concerns by her brother.

“I definitely feel like I missed out on the experience of playing d1, living on my own, experiencing the whole college life,” she said. “If I could go back I think I would have given it a chance.”

Gizela Zermeno brings a lot to the City College women’s soccer team, taking many roles such as a captain, mother, sister and teammate. She has pushed the limits for pursuing soccer no matter what challenges she may face.

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