Good Sports: Homeschooled Valley soccer star to play at Pepperdine

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The game of soccer has always come naturally for Karina Gonzalez.

"I feel like my passion for soccer continues to grow -- it's my craft and it's something I love to do," Gonzalez said.

Through dedication and unwavering self-motivation, this soon-to-be 18-year-old from Sanger has worked her way into becoming one of the most sought-after college recruits in the Central Valley despite being homeschooled for most of her life.

"I think what sets me apart is my intelligence on the field," she said. "I feel like I know my surroundings, where to touch the ball and when to go inside or outside."

An attacking midfielder with a nose for goal, Karina recently signed her letter of intent to attend Pepperdine this Fall and play for one of the country's top soccer programs.

But the journey to get here has come with its own set of logistical challenges.

Homeschooled up until just a few years ago, Karina now attends three different schools: Hallmark Charter, Sanger High and a community college in the Bay Area, where she also practices a couple times a week with the No. 1 ranked club team in America.

"To be homeschooled, it was her choice. Yeah, I would've liked to take the easy route, stay here and play here but she's always wanted to get to that next level," her dad Al said.

Karina's dad calls her an overachiever with laser focus in the classroom and on the soccer pitch.

"A lot of the challenges were communal challenges," he said. "How do we get her in school? How do we do this? How do we commute? Gas is obviously expensive, there's a lot of things going on but now to see the fruition, it's fantastic."

While Karina continues to juggle her hectic schedule, this straight-A student has plans to major in biology at Pepperdine.

"I would like to pursue my PhD in biology and the plan is to either go to a medical school or dental school," she said.

Karina has Sanger High poised to make a postseason run. Through just nine matches, she has already scored 24 goals for the Apaches.
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