Athlete Profile: Gabriella Starks

Karen Long, Freelance Writer

Shoot! Score! It’s a goaaaaal from Gabriella Starks! Gabriella, a junior at Battle High School, scored the first JV goal of Battle history during Girls Soccer in the spring of 2014. Growing up, Starks watching soccer all the time because of her Italian side of her family. Starks enjoyed watching soccer with her family, however she never tried to play it. Starks explained her inspiration to play soccer: “Well, my family has always been soccer fans and a lot of my friends have played so I kind of grew up familiar with it and I thought I should try.” Starks tried out alright. She made it to the team, along with other determined girls. Since it was Battle’s first year, sports didn’t exactly have a foundation to build upon considering there were no seniors yet. Girls’ soccer had a varsity and junior varsity team and had no cuts because all girls showed their skills well. Gabriella Starks started soccer by showing up to all preseason practices and actual practice itself. Starks was determined to move up. Gabriella expressed what she liked about playing soccer: “It’s fun, I love my team, it is a good exercise, and it’s great to make new friends and bond with them over a common interest.”

Starks had many friends on both the varsity and junior varsity teams, and always hustled out on the field after school to put in work. Soccer practices and games were coached by soccer coaches; Coach Rubenstein, Coach Grant, and Coach Hickman. Starks had positive things to say about them. She said that,” They’re really supportive and they also show that it’s important to have fun.” Gabriella first started out as practicing with the junior varsity team and then had moved her way up to practicing with varsity, along with other girls as well.

This brought her great recognition between other girls on the team because she had just started playing soccer. Gabriella stated that she wants to play soccer for a few more years after realizing how amazing and successful her first year had went. Gabriella was just a natural star.

After she stated that she wanted to continue playing soccer after high school, she said, “Not really, but I hope that it is something my kids will pick up on and I will always take interest in the sport.”

Gabriella, unfortunately, doesn’t want to continue playing soccer as a college sport, because of the limited amount of experience she has. Soccer was a great alternate activity she did that she enjoyed and used to keep in shape. However, Gabriella will continue to play soccer through her last few high school years. One of Gabriella’s close friends, Sadie Summerhays, was asked how she was at soccer and she said, “Gabby’s great at soccer. She’s good at handling the ball and a good teammate.” Any person could tell Starks had a great spirit and radiated lots of kind energy to her other teammates.

Even though it sounds a lot like soccer goes all perfect and well for Starks, along with other great soccer players, she, like any normal individual, has her different strengths and weaknesses in the game. Starks says; “My strengths are that I learn quickly, I’m familiar with the sport, and I get along with my teammates very well. Some of my weaknesses are my endurance because I can get tired quickly so that’s something I need to work on. Also, I am focusing on learning advanced plays to get to the goal quicker.” Starks is working hard on improving her weaknesses on the turf to this day. Starks also had a good amount of accomplishments to be proud of, too. Starks says that “some accomplishments that I have made during the soccer season were being able to play with the varsity team my first year, scoring the first junior varsity goal in Battle High School history, and improving in my positions as a forward in junior varsity to a varsity position.”

Gabriella is a great example to show other girls that if you always try and give it your best you can achieve anything. Sometimes years of experience doesn’t always have to matter in the world. Playing a sport or even joining a club can be an open door for many opportunities to come. Doing something you love along with other people who love it also is a great environment to be in. For any girls thinking about playing soccer, Gabriella Starks recommends “they try it because it’s very fun and it’s a good way to make friends but make sure you can balance out school and your personal life.” Now it’s all just your decision.