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AOW: Central junior forward racks up four goals in team's win

January 15, 2002|By RICHARD MYERS

Sports Editor

A threat whenever she touches the ball, Central Union High girls junior soccer player, Ana Nava had her career-best outing last week when she scored four goals in a 5-0 triumph over host Imperial High.

"She's a natural forward," coach Nabil Noujaim said, noting Nava leads the team with 10 goals and nine assists.

Nava doesn't play just one position on the front line. Instead she roams from the left side to the right side and sometimes attacks from the middle of the field.

"I like playing on the wing best," she said.

Nava added she feels fortunate she has been given the green light to roam the field.

"I'm kind of lucky coach has confidence in me and lets me play wherever I want."

Said Noujaim: "As long as she's effective, I let her do what she wants."

While Nava likes to take her shots from either the right or the left side, there is one constant.

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"I always try to take the shot using my right foot," she said.

Nava is a relative newcomer to soccer, having started playing only three years ago. She was invited by a teacher at her junior high school to go out for the sport.

"I had the kick," she said.

She progressed rapidly, joining the varsity squad at Central her freshman year.

"Ana has matured a lot soccerwise," Noujaim said. "It's a big step from sophomore to junior.

"She understands the level we play on," he continued. "She is very patient and doesn't get mad or yell at her teammates."

The highlight her first season came when she scored the winning goal in overtime against Calexico. Last year the high spot came when she scored a goal in the regular-season finale, which cemented Central as league champ.

This season the four-goal game against Imperial is her favorite.

"I have to give my teammates credit," Nava said of the success against Imperial. "I was just the one who got the shots."

She said her coach has stressed to the players that soccer is not an individual sport.

"My teammates are really important," she said.

Soccer is the only sport the daughter of Victor and Maribel plays. It consumes her life.

Nava noted after school she goes to practice and after practice she does homework.

As for the weekend, "I get together with friends and we play soccer."

Nava would like to further her soccer career at the collegiate level. And with a little luck she would someday like to play in the new women's pro league.

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