Written by: Lesly Martinez, Centennial High School
Jackie Acevedo is a professional soccer player who plays for Portland Thorns FC and the Mexico Women’s National Team. She grew up in Houston, Texas, and attended McNeil High School. She later went on to attend Southern Nazarene University for her college education. Being the only athlete in her big family out of two younger and two older sisters, and one brother, is a lot on her shoulders, she said. She knows that they look up to her and are always watching her play. The pressure that she feels was and still is positive because her family has always been happy and supportive on her decision of becoming a professional soccer player. They always believed in her and knew that she wouldn’t stop until she reached her goal.
Acevedo had a very difficult path to get where she is today. In fact, she didn't start playing soccer at a very young age like many would expect. It wasn't until her early teens (at age 13 to be exact) that she figured that soccer was meant for her after realizing that gymnastics was not her thing. She said that soccer came natural, she was good at it, and the best thing of all, she loved it.
She played throughout high school just for fun and worked her way up to the professional level. It was in her senior year in high school when she realized that playing soccer was something she truly wanted. When she received a full ride scholarship to college, she knew that she had to work extra hard and put in the extra time in both her training and school. It was difficult for her to handle school and soccer at the same time because she wasn't always the ideal student and because it was very time consuming. Regardless of all the difficulties, “it all worked out,” said Jackie with a smile on her face.
When Jackie was allocated to Thorns FC on January 3, 2014, she was shocked, excited and happy at the same time. She knew that her hard work couldn't stop there, and that she had to work even harder for her new club. “Playing with the Thorns and for a city with lots of fans is awesome,” she said. Jackie plays with two incredible teams but said that there’s a difference when playing for the Mexican National Team. “In the national team you are playing for your country and there is much more at stake.” Playing for two teams means that she has two families because both teams are just as close as a family. Above all, the best thing is that both teams share the same passion and get to share some great memories together. Unquestionably, one of the best memories that Jackie has had from her professional career is building all the endless friendships and creating awesome memories with her teammates.
To end the interview Jackie was asked, “What advice would you give to all those young people out there who want or are thinking about a professional career like this?” She replied, “Sky’s the limit. You’re in control of your dreams and the path that you walk. Once you put your mind and heart into something, you can achieve it. You create your own path and destiny.”
Editor's note: Offered by Somos Timbers, The Bilingual Reporter Program, presented by Providence Health & Services - Oregon, Don Pancho Authentic Mexican Foods, Coca-Cola and Cricket Wireless, is designed to encourage Hispanic youth to be proud of their heritage and language. Students are nominated by their teachers and then apply to have the opportunity to interview a Timbers player, a Thorns FC player, or a member of the coaching staff. Following the interview, the selected students are required to write a report about the experience in English and Spanish. With a professional interview, the students are able to further develop their bilingual speaking and writing skills while exhibiting a passion for the sport.