Gables Girls Make All-Dade Soccer Team


Junior Mia Calderon (top left) and senior Karina Leon (bottom right), have shown their skill on the field throughout the soccer season.

Lucia Chico, Staff Writer

With high school sports seasons coming to a close, the Miami Herald is in the process of finalizing its All-Dade sports teams for each sport. These teams, which are created annually, are made up of the best high school athletes in Miami-Dade County, from both public and private schools.

For girls soccer, specifically, a first and second team is created; the First Team is the team with the most skilled players in the county, while the Second Team consists of second-best players in the county. Honorable mentions are also awarded to several players. This year, Cavaliers senior Karina Leon and junior Mia Calderon were chosen to be on the First Team of the All-Dade girls’ soccer team.

Getting chosen as a First Team athlete is viewed as an incredible accomplishment in an athlete’s high school career. Team members must have demonstrated an impressive enough performance throughout their season to get voted on and approved by all the soccer coaches in the county. Both Leon and Calderon proved their worthiness of a spot on the First Team this last season by collectively scoring five goals, despite not playing forward positions. Two goals were scored by Calderon, a center back, and three by Leon, a central midfielder.

Karina and Mia are fabulous players that both share the same characteristic of being extremely hard-working. On the field they both play with so much passion and a drive that’s contagious,

— Coach Justin Aguirre

Aside from scoring goals, the two stepped up to be key players on the Coral Gables Senior High Soccer Team. Leon in midfield fought for the ball and controlled the flow of each and every game, creating opportunities for her teammates to score. Serving as a wall between the goal and the rest of the field, Calderon was also a tough opponent to get past, not only because of her skill but also because of how she directed the rest of the defensive backline on the best strategies to protect the goal.

The two proved to be all-star players throughout the season. The hard work of this year’s Gables Girls Soccer team and the extra touch of Leon and Calderon’s skill allowed them to secure the District Championship title for the second year in a row.

“Making it onto the First Team made me really look forward to next year’s season, especially since I’ll be a senior. Hopefully, we can win another district title,” junior Mia Calderon said.

For both Leon and Calderon, soccer plays a large role in who they are. Leon has been playing soccer for ten years now, having been inspired to play the sport by her older brother who played soccer. Additionally, she has been playing club soccer for nine years and has found the experience to be rewarding because it has been a way for her to improve her skills, meet new people and enjoy activities like team bonding and competitive games and tournaments.

Calderon began her soccer career 13 years ago when she realized that she hated the dance classes that she, like many young girls, was forced into in hopes of it being her niche. She was inspired to make the drastic change from dance to soccer by her mother, who also played the sport when she was young.

Currently, aside from being on the Gables soccer team, both girls play for Miami Tempo Soccer Club, where their team is on track to “win the Best in the State title.”

For Leon, seeing her name on the First Team list filled her with her. It served as a truly gratifying to be recognized for her years of dedication. After an unconventional year, Leon was overjoyed to end her high school career with a bang. For her next four years, Leon will be attending Florida State University in Tallahassee.

“I plan to play for a club team up in Tallahassee, not playing soccer is not an option for my college plans,” senior Karina Leon said.

Calderon states that she too felt an enormous sense of accomplishment when she received word of her First Team placement, as her years of hard work finally paid off. Although she still does not know where she wants to go for college, Calderon is looking forward to ending her last year of high school.

With their new title, the soccer stars are prepared for anything that comes their way next season.