Justin Estrada is back in action. Already a recipient of the Ivy League Honor Roll and Penn Athlete of the Week accolades, he proved to his team, his opponents, and especially himself that he may have been down, but he is certainly not out.
Estrada was sidelined most of last year with an injury suffered in preseason. In the first preseason scrimmage last year, Estrada suffered two torn ligaments and, as a result, he played in only two games. Despite the year off, the defender is healthy and has made it apparent that his injury has not affected his outstanding soccer abilities.
After experiencing the devastation of his ankle injury, what Justin looks most forward to is simply being able to play the game. With a humble outlook,
“My goals are to do my best for the glory of God in everything that I do,” he said. “I am just thankful to have been given the opportunity to play, and whatever achievements God sees necessary to give me, if any, I will be thankful for.”
Early on in this season, Estrada has already surpassed his goals. The junior has set many goals for the 2004-2005 soccer season, however, his main objective is to help advance the team as far as possible.
“It's difficult to set a limit on what the team can do,“ he said. “But what’s most important is that the team maximizes its potential.”
His devotion to the game extends far off the field. His love for soccer led him to Belize this summer on a missionary program with his church. Along with community service programs, such as renovating a local high school, Justin found himself playing soccer with the underprivileged youth in Belize every afternoon.
“Playing soccer with the children was fantastic,” he remembered. “They had no shoes or equipment, and played on rocks, but they still always had a smile on their face and were so thankful just to be able to kick the ball.”
Head Coach Rudy Fuller has only praise for Estrada. “He made an immediate impact as a freshman,” he recalled. “Justin is a passionate player from the start; he takes his role on the team very seriously, and has been a strong addition to the team.”
Estrada’s devotion to his team is apparent to anyone who speaks with him. Justin is simply grateful to be a part of a group so unified by a desire to achieve and succeed. Despite some minor setbacks in his young career, Justin Estrada has confirmed both his love for soccer and his ability to exceed expectations.
~ Written by Stacey Siporin, C’05 in Sept. 24 Men's Soccer Game Day Program.