By Olivia Evans
Last Friday, Mizzou Soccer faced off against Southern Mississippi in their season opener at home. Early in the first period, Mizzou’s starting forward Julissa Cisneros (sophomore, #15) scored the first goal of the season for the Tigers, making the score 1-0. Both teams would remain scoreless for the rest of the game, giving the Tigers their first win of the season.
Cisneros returns as a dominant force for the Tigers in this upcoming season. Last year as a true freshman she started 13 of 19 possible games. Cisneros also held the most goals scored by a Tiger last season and went on to be named to the SEC All-Freshman Team.
“Seeing that I was really at the bottom of the depth chart [last year] and having my coaches believe in me and push me really helped me grow,” Cisneros said. “The grind is fluid and you have to try your best every time and learn from your peers.”
When on the field, it seems like Cisneros has everything figured out, however coming to Mizzou challenged her in many ways off the field that she had not anticipated.
“The hardest part about coming here was making relationships and realizing friendships are important,” Cisneros said. “Being bilingual was hard too because there were some things I just didn’t know, like ‘hand-towel.’”
By using these experiences from her freshman year, Cisneros is now readier to be a contributor on the field and to help her teammates grow.
“Being consistent in my effort will help me the most, keeping in mind what my coaches tell me about playing the way I play,” Cisneros said. “It’s a never-ending ‘what can I work on and what can I improve?’”
This past summer Cisneros had the opportunity to attend the Mexican National U-20 camp, as well as earning the opportunity to stay and play with the full national team. Cisneros was one of two new kids at the Mexican national camp.
“It was incredible getting to fit in with the culture,” Cisneros said. “When I got to Mizzou I had a culture shock, but being with the Mexican team it was very cool to see more players like me. I enjoyed it and had a lot of fun.”
The U-20 camp was very intense and consisted of hard training sessions and lots of gameplay. The camp was located in Mexico City at a high-altitude facility where the athletes roomed in a dorm together. Some of the women at this camp have competed in professional leagues, such as the European Circuit and the Women’s Soccer League.
“Everyone had a similar mindset and recognized this was a sacrifice, but was beneficial for their athletic development,” Cisneros said. “The level of passion and pride for the whole country and your people was something I hadn’t seen before.”
This season, fans can expect to see a lot of minutes from Cisneros. She has high hopes for this year’s team and will be a definite leader on the field.
“I don’t have any set goals, I just want to do better than I did the last season obviously,” Cisneros said. “I want to leave the field each day knowing I left it all out there. By doing this, ultimately I know I will do better. I am continuously growing, and I know what I can expect from myself as a player.”
Last night, Mizzou Soccer recorded a 3-1 win against Ohio State. Cisneros scored all three goals and recorded the first hat trick of her career. The team returns to the field on Thursday to take on Cincinnati right here in Columbia.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org