Chloe Lamenzo had an answer ready to go, as if she’d thought about it.
“Three things,” the Capital High senior said, answering a simple question: Why soccer?
“First, we create a family within the team. And it’s not even just my team, it’s worldwide.”
Lamenzo, 18, told the story of a family trip to Mexico when she found herself spontaneously playing futbol with a women’s team on the beach near Cabo San Lucas. A photo of the day shows her standing among her newfound friends.
“It’s universal,” she said of soccer, “a language unto itself.”
If the first part of her three-part answer tells a lot about the Cougar midfielder’s athletic mindset and world view, the other two legs are just as revealing.
The second part of her answer is “smarts” — Lamenzo appreciates, she said, the mental challenge of soccer. Third, she said, is the discipline inherent in playing the game well.
“Not a lot of athletes show the drive that she does to be the best she can,” said Capital coach Adriana Montes. “She will do anything to help her team.”
Lamenzo talked after a practice last week as the Cougars prepare for play in the new 3A South Sound Conference. As a defender last season, she was a first-team all-Narrows League 3A selection, and this year she steps in as a Cougar captain and into a new position as an attacking center midfielder.
“I see the potential,” she said of the Cougars’ prospects this season.
She comes into a midfield with returning strength in junior Sydney Wilson, a first-team all-Narrows pick last year, and junior Samantha Brubaker, a second-team all-league selection. Junior Paige Murray earned first-team All-Narrows status as a defender last year.
Lamenzo looks forward to the new position, she said, where a central midfielder looks for the “great seams” and distributes the ball to the wings.
“Possessing the ball is crucial in the midfield,” she said.
While she won’t, by her nature, look beyond the Cougars’ season or even any one game of it, there will be soccer life after high school for Lamenzo.
She is already a member of the elite Seattle Reign Academy. Practice sessions with Reign coach Vanessa Valentine are intense, she said.
“There’s no getting away with anything,” she said. “She watches every touch we make, and you can feel it.
“Their goal is to prepare us for college soccer,” she said. “I feel like I learn 10 things every time I leave practice.”
NCAA Division I schools Colorado College and Brown University have shown active interest in Lamenzo, she said. She is also considering offers from Earlham College of Indiana and Middlebury College in Vermont.
All of those colleges have demanding academic reputations. Lamenzo is taking her senior-year classes at South Puget Sound Community College and actively works on improving her time-management skills, she said, to free up an hour to read a book for pleasure or grab an extra hour of sleep.
Soccer will have a place in her busy life.
“Since I was 5½ years old it’s been my passion,” she said. “It runs in my blood.”