Sept. 14, 2012
TUCSON, Ariz. -
It was just over two years ago that junior soccer player, Jazmin Ponce, began both her educational and athletic career at the University of Arizona. As the only girl in a family with three brothers, Ponce grew up with a passion for playing soccer. Since the beginning of her career, she has held up to her ambitions and has enjoyed each experience at the UA.
As Arizona soccer’s forward and midfielder, Ponce has established herself both on the field and in the classroom. This past summer, she was recognized as Student-Athlete of the Month for the summer semester.
“It means a lot. I’ve worked hard for the last few years,” Ponce said. “It’s finally paid off especially after dedicating myself to both soccer and school. It’s amazing and it feels good to be recognized.”
Managing time between school work and practice is something at which Ponce has been able to excell.
“I try to do all my work before the soccer week starts,” Ponce said. “We have Mondays off, so I try to get as much as I can done then and after practice I finish everything else. It can be pretty hard, but it’s do-able.”
Even with Mondays being her day off from practice, Ponce still finds herself at McKale Center doing voluntary extra workouts with her trainer.
In the spare time that Ponce does have, she enjoys being lazy and relaxing while watching “The Biggest Loser.”
“Lately, it’s my favorite show. My trainer has inspired me so much, so back home I have people on diets.” Ponce said with laughter. “I’ve been inspired because I’ve been watching “The Biggest Loser.” I really just want to help people out. It’s pretty crazy.”
More than anything, Ponce just wants to become someone in life. She finds herself immersed in making sure she succeeds, so that she can ultimately become a nurse practitioner.
“My school work is so important,” Ponce said. “I just really want to be someone in life. I want to help others.”
Before coming to the UA, Ponce grew up in Lawndale, Calif. Since beginning her career at the UA, she has only gone home to visit her family. Ponce says that what she misses most about living in California is her family. Although she sometimes finds herself homesick, she credits her roommates for getting her through many of her hard times and making her feel like she has a home in Tucson.
Although Ponce is away from loved ones and family, she notes her father as being her guiding hand in being able to be in the position she is in now.
“He’s always been there since the beginning. He was a really good soccer player, and he gave up everything for me. He sacrificed so much for me,” Ponce said. “My youth coaches helped me a lot too.”
Because she grew up playing soccer and devoting her life to it, she found herself easily making the decision to attend the UA.
“The coaches were the main reason and the girls, too.” Ponce said. “When I met everyone, everyone was so nice. I love how supportive the community is.”
When Ponce isn’t on the field, she watches fellow athletes perform while cheering in the ZonaZoo sections. “I usually sit where all of the athletes sit,” Ponce said. “So, it gets pretty crazy.”
Ponce’s favorite part about supporting her fellow student-athletes is seeing their dedication and knowing how hard they have worked to win. She especially enjoys the mutual respect each athlete has for one another.
Ponce believes that being a Division I athlete comes with the territory of hard work.
“Being a Division I athlete is something you can’t take for granted. It’s tough. It’s hard work,” Ponce said. “It’s not going to be easy especially because it’s the Pac-12. It’s the best of the best.”
Along with being a Division I athlete, Ponce is proud to call herself an Arizona Wildcat. “It’s an honor to be a part of this university and to be an Arizona Wildcat,” Ponce said.
“I love being with the girls every time we go to retreats and have the chance to get to know each other every year. Just being with the team and witnessing what each player does for everyone else is amazing,” Ponce said. “This is the first time I’ve ever had a team that has cared so much about others. The girls are amazing.”