Senior co-captain finds unexpected success as a goalkeeper

December 2, 2015 — by Fiona Sequeira

Senior Isa Berardo’s transition from field player to goalkeeper began in her freshman year

When senior co-captain Isa Berardo made the girls’ varsity soccer team as a freshman, she envisioned playing the next four years as a center midfielder. Yet since her sophomore year, despite limited goalkeeping experience in the past, she has been the team’s starting goalkeeper and has gone on to become the two-time SCVAL All-League Goalkeeper of the Year.

At age 5, Berardo started playing for a boys’ team in England called the Rockslane Rovers, an experience that shaped her into a tougher athlete. After moving back to California at age 8, she played for club teams De Anza Force and Sunnyvale Alliance.  

Berardo’s transition from field player to goalkeeper began in her freshman year, when the school team’s starting goalkeeper was late to the game and Berardo volunteered due to her brief experience with goalkeeper for the De Anza Force. Berardo ended up having a great game, and her teammates made light-hearted comments about how she would be goalie the next year. The idea became much more of a reality as sophomore year tryouts approached and head coach Ben Maxwell asked her to change positions.

“It was completely new, and I was out of my element, but I was up for the challenge and very excited to continue to improve,” Berardo said. “It helped that I was able to play with my feet, too.”

Since then, Berardo has gone on to excel at the position and was recently named one of the team’s captains.

“I believe I have always had a presence on the team, and now I have even more responsibility to step up as a leader, constantly setting the standard for the rest of the team,” Berardo said. “Some goals of mine are to win Senior Day, reach CCS, and make everyone feel like an integral part of the squad through team bonding.”

Some of Berardo’s most memorable moments with the team include beating rival Los Gatos last year twice in one season — the second time at their field on their senior day.

“[Los Gatos] has an awful turf field, and I remember coming into the game covered from head to toe with mud from the warm-up,” Berardo said. “I was so fired up to play LG that I used it as motivation.”

Although beating LG was a season highlight, Berardo had to overcome a serious injury soon after. In the third to the last game of the season, with only one more win necessary for the team to move on to CCS, Berardo dove to save the ball and was kicked in the head by a Los Altos forward. She ruptured a blood vessel and suffered a nasty concussion. Despite her protesting, she was out for the rest of the season.

“It was really hard having to sit those last games out, and I think it hurt the mentality of our team, knowing that we no longer had a goalkeeper,” Berardo said. “That was definitely a hard loss, but I had to take care of my body and I am fortunate to be back for my final season.”

Despite her success as a goalkeeper, Berardo says college soccer “is a bit of a wild card.” She is still working on getting recruited, but will play club or try to walk on wherever she goes to college.

“Soccer is a huge part of who I am and I could never give it up — it’s a passion, an outlet, and I would not be who I am today without it,” Berardo said. “I’m excited to see where it takes me.”

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