Mental strength the key for success for Gina Soto
Gina Soto, senior midfielder, said that she takes after her father when it comes to spontaneity. But when it comes to soccer and her ambition to improve, she sticks to the same concepts, patience and attention to detail like her mother.
Acknowledging that she was a little immature when she started her collegiate career, she feels the experience and coaches have helped her grow a lot in the past four years.
“I was one of those freshmen that were young-minded and wild. I wanted to do everything at once,” Soto said.
For Soto, experience comes from mental toughness and focus, which she believes has been the area in which she has improved the most during her UTEP career.
“Mentally, I’ve progressed significantly from my freshman to senior year,” Soto said. “As time went on, you learn to set your priorities straight and focus on the things that actually matter.”
Soto attributes the improvement of her mental strength to a number of people, but none more than her current roommate and former UTEP tennis player Carolina DeLuca. Soto simply put it, “she’s amazing.”
Soto was born and raised in Provo, Utah, but is considered a local girl. Her father moved the family around a lot.
“I went to a lot of high schools. My Dad is very spontaneous,” Soto said. “I came to El Paso for two months and went to El Dorado, and then we moved back to Provo.”
She returned to El Paso two months later for her senior year and attended Coronado High School.
Her roots in soccer go back to when she was seven years old. Her mother played at a competitive level in her native country of Venezuela, where the popular sports are baseball and volleyball.
“Soccer has always been my passion. It was my mom that started me out and developed me as a player,” Soto said.
Soto has started in 36 games in her career and is one of the seniors leading this year’s squad. She has contributed scoring to the team’s 11-6 scoring ratio over its opponents. The UTEP women’s soccer team has started with six wins in their non-conference schedule before starting to compete in a tough league such as Conference-USA.
Mackenzie German, one of Soto’s teammates, said Soto has displayed technically sound skills all her career.
“She puts herself out there and leads by example,” German said. “She has great touch, the ball just sticks to her when she dribbles.”
Based on Soto’s expectations, the Miners are in a great position to stand out and win their conference.
The Miners are off to a 7-2-1 start before conference play begins when they face Rice on Sept. 27 at University Field. Despite the new teams added to the conference, Soto said she has high expectations for the team.
“We definitely want to win our conference and make the NCAA tournament,” Soto said. “I think this year, our team’s been a lot closer than we’ve ever been; it helps us to play together on the field.”
Luis Barrio may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.