By Alejandro Ambriz
East Los Angeles College student and center back Vicente Herencia joined the ranks of Saint Katherine University soccer team when he signed his letter of intent to play on April 18.
Located in San Marcos, California, Saint Katherine University opened in 2011 and as of 2017, has 262 students enrolled.
Herencia first visited Saint Katherine at the end of last season after the university’s soccer coach asked to speak with him.
“I played here last season for ELAC and the Saint Katherine coach sent an email to my coach asking if he could talk with me and I went there for the first time” and says the Saint Katherine’s coach was really nice to the team and to him.
Their soccer team is relatively new, having played two seasons so far. He said it does not discourage him.
“I want to change the soccer program for Saint Katherine…I want to improve it,” said Herencia. Though he has received several offers, including outside of California, he really wants to stay here and feels he has a lot to contribute.
Herencia has played soccer his whole life. He moved to California from his home country of Chile to continue playing and to be able to study. “That’s why I came here because in my country I cannot study and play because they just focus on classes,” Herencia said. He has the option to do both here.
The scholarship Saint Katherine University offered him allows him to continue his education.
Studying and practice takes up the majority of his time.
With classes from 7 a.m.-noon and night practices from 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., he finds time to study during the day in order to keep a balance.
Herencia prioritizes both studying and his soccer career, but knows his studying is going to be more important after college life.
Having come here alone, Herencia admits he misses his family.
“When I have some trouble here I really miss my family,” Herencia said. But notes he’s lucky enough to be able to go see them twice a year.
They plan to come from Chile to see him play.
While his family is not here, Herencia has ELAC staff to help guide him.
“Coaches, assistant coaches, they support me a lot because they know I’m international and it’s hard for me sometimes,” Herencia said.
He recalls that because he did not know enough English when he first got here almost two years ago, he had to study and work hard.
In the fall of 2019, Herencia will be playing for Saint Katherine University and hopes to “Have a good season, play a lot, and study.”