All it took was a soccer ball for Orange Lutheran senior Andrew Hernandez to find his sport. A gift from his parents, he started kicking it around the yard at four years old. By age five, he joined an organized team and has been playing ever since.
“I just fell in love with the sport at a young age,” says Hernandez. “I step on the field and there are no problems. It’s a place that is safe where I can get away from everything.”
Forced to sit out last year’s shortened season due to injury, the Lancer midfielder is excited about his return to the pitch for his senior year. The last three years have not been easy, but the program is off to a strong start as they open Trinity League play this week.
While winning is still the goal, Hernandez is working towards changing the face of boys soccer at OLu. As a senior leader, the 17-year old is intentional about keeping teammates on the same page and making sure the entire group is committed to the task at hand.
"Student athletes like Andrew are every coach's dream,” says OLu boys soccer head coach, Michael Oseguera. “He is selfless, humble and would do anything for his friends and teammates. Andrew's determination and hard work model exactly what it means to be a Lancer. He is an excellent role model to the next generation of young men coming through the OLu soccer program, and it has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of Andrew's journey. He is an outstanding young man, and his future is bright."
Battling back from injury and enduring a pandemic year are just a few of the struggles that Hernandez has faced in his playing career. But the game has shown him that positivity can go a long way toward changing his mindset for the better.
“Soccer has taught me that there are going to be good days and bad days, and there will be a lot of challenges, but you have to keep going and stay positive,” says Hernandez. “Things happen, but we can recover from them and keep going.”
Hernandez is exploring opportunities to play soccer at the collegiate level and is considering studying psychology. His parents have been pivotal in his athletic journey, and he credits Coach Oseguera, along with former OLu boys soccer head coach Jon Spencer, in helping him come into his own as a player.
Above all, it is his faith that has been there for him, no matter the circumstances. Hernandez prays each time he steps on the field, confident that God is in control.
“When things happen, I know God has a plan,” says Hernandez. “So I don’t fall back and isolate myself from the world. I know God has a plan for everyone. Trusting in him has helped a lot.”