On National Signing Day (November 11, 2020), Emma Egizii committed to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to continue her academic and athletic pursuits. Egizii will play on the Women’s Soccer Team for the Bruins. Yesterday afternoon, she took time to sit down with me (virtually) and answer a few questions about her journey, her decision, and her continued aspirations.
“For love of the game” has never resonated more than it did during my conversation with Egizii. Her passion for soccer is palpable, even through the barrier of a Zoom screen. She loves playing her sport. In turn, the time, effort, and energy that Egizii has devoted to her craft has never felt like a burden because she genuinely enjoys what she does. Although sacrifices have been made to bring this goal to realization, for Egizii, it never felt like a loss; rather, it simply meant more time committed to the game that brings her such unbridled joy.
Although Egizii was not a product of the Warren Soccer program, I quickly discerned that she is the consummate teammate. Her successes are defined by whole team efforts; when her team triumphs, Egizii relishes in those victories. Her goals center on continued improvement for her own game and further effort to see those around her improve. Through this interview, I quickly realized that the Bruins have inked a promising young athlete who will give everything to adapt to any role needed in order to help the team continue to find such tremendous success. Egizii is joining a program that has been a perennial powerhouse, and I am confident that she will continue to thrive, and she will relish the opportunity to be surrounded by such phenomenally skilled teammates.
Congratulations, Emma! We are incredibly proud of you, and we cannot wait to celebrate your future accomplishments as a Bruin! Once a Bear, always a Bear!
University of California, Los Angeles
Why did you select UCLA?
It is close to home. It’s a great program, and I really love their style of soccer. I also enjoyed the culture at the school and within the program. I think it will be a great place to grow and surround myself with awesome players.
How long have you been playing your sport? How did you know soccer was your sport?
I have been playing since I was 4. Around 10, I realized that soccer was my sport. I loved it, and I was having fun. Many of the other sports bored me. I also enjoyed playing as a part of a team.
When did you know you wanted to play at the next level?
I do not remember exactly when I realized that I had the potential to play at the next level. I currently play for Beach FC (Long Beach, CA). Over the years, I continued to advance through the system, from flight 2 to flight 1. I continued to improve and progress.
What did you have to do in order to make this dream a reality?
I have been open-minded and coachable. I am always wanting to improve. I enjoy it, I love it. There have been a lot of sacrifices, but they are all well worth it. There were certain aspects of training that were not as fun (such as weight training), but it was all a part of improving at the sport that I love.
What are your best memories in your sport?
That’s a difficult question. I think it would be winning major tournaments as whole team. I enjoyed celebrating major victories with the team and knowing that everyone contributed to the success.
What are the biggest challenges/obstacles you have had to overcome?
I tore my ACL a year ago. The recovery process was challenging. It took some time away from my team and practices, but during that time, I was able to work on different aspects of my game. I have also been able to help others work on preventative measures for this injury because it is such a common concern in the sport. During my recovery, the pandemic started, so we have not been able to return to full-contact practices. This has enabled me to come back at my own pace and not rush into anything.
What are your biggest accomplishments thus far?
I think it would be playing with the Youth National Teams. I have stayed on the National Team circuit for such a long time, from U14 through U17. Through this experience, I have built good friendships with girls from around the country. Now, signing with UCLA would also be one of my biggest accomplishments.
What are your goals, athletically, for college and potentially beyond?
I want to improve every aspect of my game, especially defensively because I am such an attack-oriented player. I also want to make the other players around me better. Eventually, I might want to be a coach because I really enjoy the tactical part of the game.
What are your academic and career goals?
I am not sure yet. I have explored a lot of options, but possibly something that is math and science based.
What lessons have you learned through your sport? How has your sport shaped you?
I have learned to stay true to myself. Always be who you are, especially when playing at the highest levels on the biggest stages.
Who most inspires you?
My grandparents are very inspiring. They work so hard. My parents do as well. It takes a lot to work as hard as they do for as long as they have.
After whom do you model your game?
My game is modeled after a blend of my favorite players. On the women’s side, I would say my game most resembles Rose Lavelle. She plays the same position as me, and she is a very creative player.
If you didn’t play your sport, what would be your alternative passion?
I might have more of a social life. Thankfully, most of my friends are on my team.
What is the best advice you can offer to underclassmen with similar aspirations?
Have fun! Make sure you are enjoying it. Be yourself. Work hard toward your goals.
What are your most fond memories at Warren High School?
The fun and laughs with friends in and out of class. Assemblies are always fun. It has been an overall good experience.
What will you miss most about Warren?
That is also a difficult one. I will miss the people, specifically the teachers. It’s a really good staff, and I’ve had very nice teachers.
What are you most looking forward to about college?
I’m looking forward to the whole experience. I am excited to be a part of such a great class and team. The Bruins are such a close-knit team. It reminded me of the relationships on my current club team, so it seemed like a good fit!