The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Junior Anya Lin commits to UC San Diego soccer

Courtesy Anya Lin
Junior Anya Lin dribbles the ball down the field. This March, Anya announced her commitment to University of California San Diego for Division I soccer.

Junior Anya Lin has been immersed in the world of soccer since her first steps. Inspired by her mother, who played Division III soccer in college, Anya joined the Mountain View-Los Altos (MVLA) Soccer Club at age 6. Ten years later, this March, she announced her commitment to playing Division I soccer at the University of California San Diego.

Since freshman year, Anya has played midfielder for the Los Altos High School varsity team. During her high school career, LAHS won the 2022 Central Coast Section Division I Championships and finished first in their league this year — the first time in five years.

As one of the team’s top scorers, Anya earned MVP in the 2022–2023 season. This season, as the only junior captain, Anya’s desire to help the team succeed is shown through her diligence and leadership.

“She already had all the skills and mentality that make up a good soccer player, but the high goals she sets for herself and her encouragement of her teammates to aim higher are major factors in team success,” Head Coach Jacob Valadez said.

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“Anya leads by example on the field,” teammate senior Kiera Gowers said. “She is always the first to the ball, and she is always always trying to win the ball back.”

In addition to her guidance on the field, Anya’s motivation to improve her skills also helps her build valuable relationships with her teammates.

“She really cares about what she does, and it shows, so we want to help her achieve what she needs to achieve,” Kiera said.

Valadez describes Anya as one of the team’s top performers. But beyond her technical skills, he also recognizes Anya’s enthusiasm for the game.

“There wasn’t a game this season where I had to take her off because we needed to fix some things or get her motivated to be more energized,” Valadez said. “Sometimes we’re just taking her off like, ‘Okay, you need a break because you’re working so hard out there.’”

Throughout years of dedication to training and competitions, Anya found that her toughest challenge was training during the COVID-19 pandemic. When quarantine restricted team practices, Anya would often practice alone before online school and learned to find her own drive to improve.

“When we returned from the pandemic, it was clear who had practiced and who hadn’t,” Anya said. “That was a real eye-opener because it made me realize, ‘Wow, my hard work actually paid off,’ and that’s one of the most rewarding things about the sport.”

Soon after quarantine ended, Anya entered the college recruitment process, which she found challenging but ultimately rewarding.

“Sometimes you have to have tough conversations where you listen to coaches tell you that they’re actually not interested anymore, but you learn to go with the flow and everyone ends up where they’re meant to be,” Anya said.

Anya poses in UC San Diego gear on a visit. (Courtesy Anya Lin)

And for Anya, that place was UC San Diego, with a womens soccer team currently ranked fifth in the Big West Conference. Aside from its unique campus and coastal location, Anya was particularly drawn to the community.

“I thought UC San Diego’s athletic community was the most fit for me,” Anya said. “The coaching staff was so welcoming, and the competitive environment can push me to improve.”

Still a junior, Anya has another year to grow as a player and learn from obstacles before entering the brand-new college environment.

“Now that I’m committed, I know I’ll have to work twice as hard to earn a starting spot as a lower-classman when I get into college,” Anya said. “But again, I’m so excited to see how far I can go.”

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