The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

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The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

Pathfinder

The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

Pathfinder

The net ninja

Senior Julia Liguore’s scores a spot at a Division I college
Senior+Julia+Liguore+looks+for+a+pass+on+the+soccer+field
Matthew Thomas
Lunging for the ball, senior Julia Liguore looks for a pass. Liguore was a starter and team captain of the varsity soccer team. “[My favorite thing about] high school soccer is getting to play in a stadium, getting [my] name called out and running out through the [player] tunnel,” Liguore said.

Arms pumping, heart pounding and sweat dripping, senior Julia Liguore dribbles toward the goal. She spins around one, two, three players before shooting the ball, which swooshes up against the back of the net. Score! Liguore ties the game against the Westminster Wildcats. Slamming her hands on the ground, Liguore stands up with a smile. 

Liguore started playing soccer in kindergarten when she joined a CYC team at her local parish and never looked back. Soon after, she joined St. Louis Development Academy, formerly known as Sporting St. Louis, to play at a more challenging level of soccer.

“When [soccer]  started to get serious, it was a big change, [it was] more intense and a big time commitment. I had to give up a lot and make sacrifices for the soccer field. [It’s difficult to] balance schoolwork and soccer, do homework on the plane, on the way [to soccer and] in the hotel,” Liguore said.

Even though she started at a lower level within the club, Liguore quickly moved to the middle-level team within her age group. But she didn’t stop there.

“[I don’t like] the running [and] conditioning [involved with] soccer, [so I] worked outside of [club] soccer and brought a new mentality to practice. [I] did not necessarily work harder, but [I] held myself accountable,” Liguore said. “My biggest challenge was from the beginning of high school to middle school when I was trying to get on a higher team. There were three teams, and I was on the middle team. I wanted to be on the top team. Once I finally moved up, [it was difficult] to fight for playing time and compete within my team to [earn] my spot. It was an internal battle with myself, and I tried to do [my] best.”

Chasing after a blue and red soccer ball, senior Julia Ligoure runs down a soccer field.
Playing with Sporting St. Louis, now-senior Julia Liguore dribbles the ball down the field. Liguore has been playing with the club for over 10 years. “I love to play soccer. It’s fun being part of a team and being on the ball,” Liguore said. (Sal Liguore)

After putting in the effort at practice and home, Liguore moved to the highest-level team, the Girls Academy (GA). Liguore’s new coach, Bob Kittner, surprised her with a phone call when he asked her to play for his team.

 

“When I got the call to move up to the higher team, I was excited because I hoped to move up. I was anticipating it, but I didn’t know what would happen. I was proud of myself, and it was awesome to [have that feeling],” Liguore said.

The Missouri State High School Athletics Association (MSHAA) rules prevent players from participating in club soccer during a high school season, so Liguore took the spring season off at the GA level to play high school soccer. During her freshman and sophomore years, Liguore attended and played soccer at Parkway North High School. She moved to the Parkway West area as a junior and quickly became a member of the varsity soccer team.

“It is a different environment at West because [there is] a lot of camaraderie and tradition. It is more competitive for soccer. I love to play at [West]. It’s more comfortable, and we have a routine with home games,” Liguore said.

Liguore developed close relationships with friends and teammates at school quickly, and events such as team breakfasts and dinners allowed Liguore to develop bonds with her teammates.

“[I enjoy] playing with friends from school. It’s fun to play more games frequently. [During] my junior year, I had a lot of friends who were seniors, [and] it was fun to see them every day. On the weekends, we would see each other [and] hang out,” Liguore said. 

Liguore has an especially close bond with sophomore Julia Worley. While Liguore plays an attacking or defensive midfield position, Worley plays the forward position on a similar wavelength.

“[Liguore] is really good at soccer. She’s good at making fast decisions which help me be smarter on the field,” Worley said.

As a freshman and sophomore in high school, Liguore had aspirations of attending college to play soccer. Even though she didn’t receive a response, Liguore reached out to college coaches early on. In addition, Liguore attended identification camps and showcases through her club soccer team to get the attention of college coaches. 

“I went to a couple of big showcases where [many] colleges came. Those are the most intimidating because there are a lot of girls and coaches, but it is a good opportunity because it’s more bang for your buck. When you go to one camp, you see coaches [from many colleges,]” Liguore said.

After attending an identification camp to display her ability at Illinois State University, Liguore decided it was the place for her because she loved the environment and the coaches that were a part of the team. 

Senior Julia Ligoure jumps with a soccer ball.
While she has no pre-game rituals, Liguore has a specific preference for her uniform. “I loved having my socks over my knees. When socks weren’t long enough, I pulled them up as much as possible. I liked to roll my shorts and put my sleeves up,” Liguore said. (Sal Liguore)

“The coaches who recruited me were very excited about me. It feels good when somebody wants you to be part of their program team,” Liguore said. 

Varsity Coach Annie Wayland also attended Illinois State University and applauds Liguore for her achievement.

“[Liguore] was a dynamic player and was crucial to our success last season. She blended perfectly with the type and style of play that we had. She’s certainly had some success with scoring goals and assists. I’ve been coaching for 18 years and never had a kid go to the same school that I attended. I had an amazing experience, and I loved my college career and experience [at Illinois State University]. I’m happy for [Liguore], and I’m excited for what she [will] experience,” Wayland said.

In addition to playing Division I soccer, Liguore will major in kinesiology. 

“It all fell together. No other schools had that major, so [I was influenced to choose] Illinois State. They offered me [a spot for soccer], and they had my major. It all worked out,” Liguore said.

Since her junior year, Liguore has participated in Spark! Sports Medicine, which is offered to students who want to get a head start in their field. While participating, Liguore shadowed athletic trainer Kaitlyn Bowen to learn more about the profession. Through the program, Liguore has learned many skills that have helped fuel her passion for kinesiology.

“Over the past two years, Kaiti and I have become very fond of each other. We have a cute little bond. For Spark!, I shadow her during basketball games and football games. Before soccer practice, I can see what she’s doing with other people to get some experience,” Liguore said. “I’ve learned how to tape an ankle. I feel like I can do it pretty good [and] it’s a cool skill to have.”

When starting the recruiting process, Liguore didn’t know what college she wanted to attend.

“[My advice to others is to] have an open mind. When I joined the recruiting process, I didn’t have my heart set on any school, [which] helped me be flexible. [It is also important to] work hard, take risks and join in on any opportunity you can get,” Liguore said.

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Ruthvi Tadakamalla, Social Media Manager
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 10 Years on staff: 2 What is your favorite piece of literature? "To Kill a Mockingbird." Who is your hero? My mom. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Cheez-its.
Matthew Thomas, Staff Writer
Pronouns: he/him Grade: 10 Years on staff: 2 What is your favorite piece of literature? "Charlotte's Web" Who is your hero? Peter Dinklage. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Pizza.
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