H54K: Augusta 13-year-old joins national soccer league in Columbia after beating health challenges

H54K: Augusta 13-year-old joins national soccer league in Columbia after beating health challenges

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Every week FOX54 celebrates kids who are shining bright in our community, doing good for others, or provide inspiration for their peers.

This week we want you to meet an aspiring soccer star who battled past illness and is running toward the goal of her dreams in this week’s “High 5 4 Kids.”

For Monserrat Avila, practicing soccer is her every day. The 13-year-old plays soccer competitively in a national league.

“Works hard every single day, pushes herself and her teammates to strive to get better and that’s one of the characters you need in life as well - to continue to push and work yourself hard,” Nick Edmond, her former coach at Augusta Arsenal Club, said.

Her mother, Yorlenny Avila, said she’s been working hard from the start. Yorlenny said Monserrat has asthma and had problems with her legs when she was a toddler –needing two years of therapy to learn how to walk without falling.

“If somebody would’ve told me your daughter is going to play soccer, and run around like she does now, I wouldn’t have believed it,” Yorlenny said in Spanish.

“You have to be committed to go wherever you want to go, so at school I have to have everything ready, so I can go and go to practices,” Monserrat said. “Even if it’s an hour away, I still have to do my best.”

She practices at the Augusta Arsenal Club when she’s not on the road to practice with her team South Carolina United FC, which is a competitive team in the Elite Clubs National League.

“After school we have to go to Columbia, where she has practice from seven until almost 9 at night,” Yorlenny said. “We return home 10:30 almost 11 twice a week. On the weekends she has to go to different parts of South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and at home she’s always practicing when she doesn’t have practice.”

“I do get tired, but I’m just committed,” Monserrat said, “and so I want to do better and make my parents proud.”

“She’s dedicated herself to play and she’s never had fear,” her mother said. “It’s like she always says ‘mom, when you fall you’ve got to get back up.’ I feel very proud of where she’s gotten to.”

“My ultimate dream is to go pro,” the teen said, “and I go hard because I want to set my expectations to a limit, so I know how hard to go to get in the professional league.”

As Monserrat aims to land the goal of her dreams, her mother hopes the same for others like her daughter.

“Parents that might have kids with different problems - you have to support your kids in whatever - whether it’s art, or dance, or music, or sports - you always have to support them,” Yorlenny said. “Tell them ‘yes, you can.’ It doesn’t matter what physical problems you have, or an illness you might have, you can always come out on top with effort.”

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