Juliana Bonavita’s New Role on the Lady Cavalier Soccer Team


Danielle Bonavita

Juliana Bonavita prepare to strike the ball during a club soccer game.

Trey Riera-Gomez, Staff Writer

At Coral Gables Senior High, the student body is full of amazing talent, skill and prowess that are all exemplified by a few especially talented individuals. Juliana Bonavita is a prime example. She is a junior in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program who has excelled within the Gables community, especially in soccer.

Bonavita has played soccer nearly her entire life; she has been dribbling the soccer ball since the age of five, when her parents, long-time players themselves, introduced her to the sport. Throughout her sports career, she has consistently played for her school’s team and an outside club. Playing club soccer has allowed Bonavita to improve her skills through constant practice, all of which she has brought back to the Lady Cavalier Soccer team. Both in and out of school, she travels along with the teams, competing in games and tournaments throughout Florida. As a freshman, she was awarded Rookie Freshman of the Year and has also made the All-Dade Honorable Mentions roster.

“Soccer has been a huge part of my life for the longest time. I’d spend most of my weekends either traveling or training for the sport,” junior Bonavita said.

However, recent tragedy struck when Bonavita injured her ACL, rendering her unable to play for up to a year. This injury left her devastated and unsure of what her next step would be. Trying to stay positive and connected to the sport, Bonavita has been appointed to Team Manager, where she assists in the coaching and training of the girls’ soccer team at Gables. While the circumstances are unfortunate, they do provide the young superstar with the opportunity to experience the game from a different perspective which she is sure she will learn from.

“Even though I really really want to play, I am going to make the most out of being the team manager, and it is a great way for me to stay connected with the team,” junior Bonavita said.

How was your success as a player before your injuries?

I like to think that I was very successful as a player before I got hurt. On the school team, I was awarded Freshman of The Year at the end of my first season. I also made All-Dade honorable mention and made it into the newspaper a couple of times too.

What is your specific injury, and how long will you be out for?

I tore my ACL and meniscus. I had knee surgery and they took tissue from my patellar tendon, which is right under the knee, and then they put it where my ACL used to be. They also stitched up my meniscus, but the doctor said the tear in my meniscus was not that bad. I will be out for nine months to a year depending on how well I recover, but I hope to get back to playing as soon as possible. When I initially got injured, I thought that I had only sprained my knee. When I found out that I totally destroyed my ACL, I was very shocked and it actually took a few days for me to wrap my head around the fact that I would not be able to play soccer for a while. I was really frustrated at first because I had been training so hard and doing exercises to prevent an ACL injury and it still happened to me. ACL injuries are really common among girls my age, so ACL prevention plays a big part in girls’ soccer.

How has it been transitioning from being a player to coaching your teammates?

When I received the news that I needed surgery and couldn’t play, I didn’t know what to do because I had just lost the biggest part of my life. I went from playing soccer every day to doing nothing. Since I can’t play soccer this year, I am going to be the girls’ team manager. Basically, I have to keep the score of every game we participate in. I also helped during tryouts for this season and was able to help in the decision to pick some of the girls for the team; that was fun.

How do you think you will grow or learn from this experience as a coach?

I think being the team manager will teach me patience. It takes a lot of patience to coach a group of girls and to get along with everyone. Being the manager will also help me look at soccer from a different perspective. I get to approach it as a coach now instead of a player. I will get to see things that I would have never noticed before as a player, and I can use the things I learned while being a coach when I go back to playing to help improve my game.

Pullquote Photo

I’ll get to see things that I would have never noticed before as player, and I can use the things I learned while being a coach when I go back to playing to help improve my game.

— junior Juliana Bonavita

What are your plans moving forward and looking into the future?

My plan moving forward is to get through therapy. Therapy and my recovery processes have been very challenging both mentally and physically. The first week after my surgery was so hard because I was in so much pain. I could not even get out of my bed by myself because I had lost all of my quad muscle, but now I am doing a lot better. I have not gotten full range of motion in my knee yet, but I am making a lot of progress. The activities I do in therapy hurt a lot, but I know that they are going to help me get a lot better, so I push through the pain. I want to get back to running and jumping as soon as possible and eventually get back to playing and be ready to play both club and high school soccer during my senior year.   

Although it will be a long road to recovery, Bonavita’s hopes are high, and she looks to make her return as soon as possible. In her absence from the playing field, she looks to gain valuable experience and knowledge from a coaching perspective that will transfer to her in-game skill set. Looking forward to next year, we wish Bonavita a speedy recovery so she can return to the sport she loves.