Featured Athlete: Gaby Loera

By Nader Ihmoud


College/Team Robert Morris University Eagles

Gaby Loera and the rest of the Robert Morris University Eagles women’s soccer team had a rough start to the season, losing their first four games. Loera also had her own challenges, as she was recovering from a stomach cyst operation that left her struggling to rebuild her strength and hone her skills. She and the team persevered through the collective rut, winning 16 of the next 19 games.

The Eagles’ season ended in the second round of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Tournament when they lost to the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Eagles Nov. 27.

Loera spoke with The Chronicle about how the season went and what she expects of herself and her team next year.

The Chronicle: When did you start playing soccer and why?

Gaby Loera: I started playing soccer when I was 10 for my grammar school team, which was Sawyer [Elementary] School, [5248 S. Sawyer Ave.].

Who is your favorite soccer player and why?

My favorite soccer player is Alex Morgan on the women’s national team. She’s my favorite because she is a young, hardworking [and] smart player. She inspires me to do the best that I can, especially since the U.S. won the Gold Medal in the Olympics this year.

How often do you play soccer?

My college soccer season lasts about 3 or 4 months. After [the season], I play in indoor leagues to keep me in shape, and in the summer I play in outdoor leagues.

Is soccer your favorite sport? If so, what makes it so great?

Soccer is my favorite sport because it takes a lot of skill to be able to control a ball with your feet. Also, it is a stress reliever for me. The sport can be very physical. I love that practicing and being physical with your teammates will not hinder friendships.

What was the best thing that happened to you this season?

The best thing that happened to me this season was making a goal in the opening round of the National Tournament. We played against Graceland University, and the goalie was a World Cup player for the Colombian

national team.

Do you look up to anyone on the team?

Yes, I look up to my teammate Florence Dadson, a World Cup player for the Ghana national team. She also plays forward with me, and it is an honor to play

with her.

During the offseason, what are you going to do to prepare for next season?

I am going to work out more so I can be stronger and faster. Also, work every other day on ball skills to have better control of the ball.

In your opinion, how did this season turn out?

I thought the season would not have ended well, especially how we started. We finished off being one of the final 16 teams in

the nation.

What do you expect for

next season?

I expect my team to go further into the NAIA national tournament. I want to at least make it to the final four because then I can get a ring from the tournament.

What do you want to do when you graduate?

I want to be a physical therapist, so I want to apply for the program at University of Illinois at Chicago as soon as I graduate from Robert Morris.