It hasn’t always been the golden paved streets of the Olympic Development Team for Marley Opila.
“I was six…I played with all boys, so I was not good at all in the beginning,” said Opila. But, she improved rapidly. By age eight, Opila was already playing travel soccer in the Tampa Bay area. By the summer before eighth grade, Opila was officially a member of the Florida Olympic Development Team.
“[When] You’re recommended by your coaches, its a big deal,” said Opila,”there’s probably a hundred something girls, maybe even 200. You make it past the first round, there’s probably 50 girls left at that point and then they form one or two teams, probably 30 girls end up making the team.”
Soccer has been Opila’s main focus since she started in Kindergarten. Thanks to all this time on the field, she says she’s played every position, except goalkeeper. In her high school years Opila finally settled into a spot known as a center defensive midfielder (CDM).
“Yes (it is my favorite position), I don’t know why, it’s really worked for me,” said Opila.
Through all her years in soccer, Opila says this year’s school team is her favorite.
“I’ve had so much fun with this team and the girls on the team are great, they’re some of my best friends,” said Opila.
Opila was a member of the state championship team her sophomore season, and will never touch a soccer field in a Warrior’s jersey again after the team’s loss at George Jenkins in the Regional Quarterfinals.
Opila has committed to the University of North Florida to play soccer, her life-long dream.
Zealand Shannon / Sports Editor