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

Selya Sen dribbles through varsity soccer season

Courtesy Hugo Rojas
Freshman Selya Sen dribbles the ball down the soccer pitch. Last winter, she was one of two freshmen who made the LAHS varsity team.

Since elementary school, freshman Selya Sen has dreamed of becoming an elite soccer player. By making the Los Altos High School varsity team this season, she’s one step closer to success.

Selya started playing soccer at 5 years old because of her brother, Ata Sen ‘23 — who played for Los Altos and now plays for Trinity University — and father. In second grade, Selya joined the Palo Alto Soccer Club, her first team, and with the team for seven years, she fell in love with the competitive nature of the sport.

“A lot of people play soccer which makes it really competitive,” Selya said. “There are many good players out there which can be a bit tough, but I really enjoy playing against them.”

In 2023, Selya transferred to the De Anza Force Soccer Club, a powerhouse team in the Bay Area. Ever since, she’s dedicated herself to the De Anza Force team, pursuing her dream to play soccer in college.

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Entering her first high school season, Selya set the bar high. Bringing strong technical skills and versatility to the field, Selya made the varsity team — one of two freshmen who got in. In addition, Selya brought a strong mentality, which varsity head coach Jacob Valadez notes as one of the most important factors in picking players for the team.

“I look for those mental things: Are you coachable, are you ready to hear feedback and how do you approach the team side of the game?” Valadez said.

With her prior soccer experience, Selya’s serious mindset and her love for teamwork carry her well past these expectations.

“When Selya came in day one, I thought she was a sophomore or junior,” Valadez said. “She held herself with that level of ‘I belong here,’ ”

Despite outwardly showing confidence, Selya, as one of the youngest players trying out for varsity, was originally intimidated by the older girls in tryouts.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking — playing all the upperclassmen,” Selya said. “But I eventually pulled through after trying my very best.”

After securing her spot on the team, Selya ran into another obstacle: communicating effectively in a new community of players. On top of playing with new teammates, the LAHS team has a greater age range than club teams. Even so, Selya established meaningful connections with her teammates throughout the season.

“My teammates are like my family,” Selya said. “Just the feeling of being on a team and competing together makes me happy.”

On the field, Selya takes on the position of outside back defender, filling a previous gap in the defender lineup. Selya’s love for competition paired with her collaborative skills make her valued on the field.

“Selya’s always there to cover for anyone else’s mistakes,” teammate junior Tyra Bogan said. “She’s always doing the work behind the scenes that makes the team stick together and succeed.”

With the team winning the league this year, Selya is enthusiastic to further her bonds with teammates and improve her skills in her next three seasons. Selya has kicked off her high school soccer career, and she’s in for a promising future at Los Altos and beyond.

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