Ramirez shoots for a spot in the Olympics

Golden Eagle Women’s Soccer player, Leslie Ramirez, completes the first round of training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics


Golden Eagle Women’s Soccer forward, Leslie Ramirez was drafted for the Guatemalan National women’s soccer team and has an opportunity to qualify in the 2020 Olympics.

Monica Tamayo, Staff Writer

Upon coming home from her recent tryouts for the Guatemalan national fútbol team, Leslie Ramirez kept thinking that,“the universe really does find its way back to you.” 

The United States born player, who also has Guatemalan citizenship, is closer to potentially competing in the 2020 Olympics. 

On July 20th, Ramirez left to compete in a three-day training camp and completed the first round of tryouts. She is now set to return for her second round in January 2020. 

According to Cal State LA athletics, the camp is a “precursor to a pre-Olympics tournament,” which is scheduled to happen in January of next year. The pre-Olympics tournament will determine if the team will move forward into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

As Ramirez approaches her road to the Olympics and her final season with the Golden Eagles, she is still in awe with her soccer career coming full circle. 

Born to a Mexican father and Guatemalan/Honduran mother, she explains that soccer has been a key factor in her family. 

At the age of four, Ramirez and her sisters played soccer with all boys but never felt comfortable because of her appearance. “Growing up I was darker than everybody else, my hair was a mess, it was curly and all of that irrelevant stuff for some reason affected me. I wasn’t comfortable being on that pitch,“ Ramirez confessed

She went on to explain that her insecurities affected her effort on the field as a young girl. “I would purposely suck so my dad would pull me out, I would sit in the middle of the field, pick the grass, bother the referees, it was a hot mess,” the forward said.

Her life changed when her father transferred her to an all girls team where she found her passion for the sport, telling his daughter that soccer is what is going to help build her future. Hungry for more success, she was recruited to play for Cal State Northridge’s soccer team. 

Ramirez was on the roster for two seasons with the Matadors, but she was unable to compete due to an ACL meniscus injury during her senior year of high school. 

“That was one of the first times in my life where I had the opportunity to be normal, to go to parties, it was all so different…it affected me, I lost a scholarship because of it. I had to learn the hard way especially when people are investing in you” Ramirez confessed.  

Despite this difficult time, she managed to oversee her challenges and shoot for her goals. After leaving CSUN and spending a season at Pierce College, she got scouted to play for the Golden Eagles’s 2017 season. 

During her time in Guatemala, Ramirez knew the training would be a challenge, being one of the few new players born outside of the country. Ramirez explained that  “it was different, there’s the veterans, the girls who have been since the start of it all and I guess it can be a bit threatening. Coaches are recruiting outside of the country to bring in players who can bring in a different style of play. “ 

Although she admits to having thoughts of self-doubt, Ramirez explains that her parents are a major source of motivation and credits them for much of her success. Growing up, her father always challenged her, while her mother provided guidance and unconditional support for her daughter on and off the field.  

“I understand why he did what he did, it was so I can have a stronger mentality, so I can be different and create my own opportunities.  On the other spectrum, my mom is so loving. She would bend over backwards to make sure my uniforms were ready. I was at every practice and tournament. If it required staying at hotels or motels she always found a way.” 

Reflecting on her career now, she smiles as she remembers a time being told that she could one day play professionally and how proud her parents are of their daughter. 

“Everything that’s meant to be yours, truly believe in it. It will always find its way back to you, looking back now, it’s so true,” said Ramirez.