After receiving a flyer to try out for the school football team in eighth grade, senior Steven Valdivia has found himself scoring touchdowns on the field ever since.
Although he played basketball since elementary school, joining football was what gave him a sense of brotherhood within his team.
“Football was just something I was able to enjoy with my friends,” Valdivia said. “Now I’m able to call my teammates my brothers because I know at the end of the day, they’re going to have my back. They’ve pushed me to be the best individual I can be not only on the field, but in the weight room and classroom.”
From being on the football team, he found a new passion and was able to learn various life lessons that he believes were critical to much of his success on the field.
“At first, my perspective on sports was just to have fun and enjoy what I love doing,” Valdivia said. “Now, that’s one half of football, but the other half is the lessons you learn from being in the weight room, the field, and even the classroom. Without the hard work and perseverance, there will be no improvements.”
Moreover, the football head coach, Kevin Encinas, taught Valdivia and his teammates to remain diligent during practices and games, which is the reason why Valdivia has always had a strong mindset.
“I’ve learned is that nothing is given in life,” Valdivia said. “We were taught that we need to really work hard and have grit because if we just sit around all day and expect things to come into our hands, we aren’t going to go anywhere in life.”
As a result, even after injuring his ankle in his junior year and being out for an entire season, he began to work even harder during spring training as he went into his final football season, which ultimately paid off.
“My proudest moment would have to be my last game of my senior year. I worked really hard the whole season and I gave it my all,” Valdivia said. “Stat-wise, I managed to play one of the best games of my career and I performed really well in front of one of the East Los Angeles College coaches. l made three touchdowns, an interception, and a good amount of tackles.”
Although playing high school football has officially come to an end for Valdivia, he knows that this will definitely not be the last time he will play football.
“After this year’s season, I’ve seen a glimpse of what I can do and it has me wondering what I can do with a full offseason,” Valdivia said. “I know that I have the potential to do something in football, now it’s just everyone’s turn to see if my name will be heard of or not.”