Senior forward Marco Padilla scored five of Lakewood Ranch’s 11 goals, helping lead the Mustangs to a 3-1 record and a second-place finish in the Sarasota Thanksgiving Tournament Nov. 21-23. The Mustangs captain has tallied nine goals in seven games this season. Here is an inside look at this week’s Athlete of the Week.
What’s your biggest soccer accomplishment?
I’m a captain for both my club and high school teams. To be named a captain is an honor. Also being able to still enjoy soccer. Hopefully, I can play soccer all my life.
How did you get into soccer?
When I was little, I used to ride horses and my horse trainer used to play soccer. So we would play soccer after we were done riding. I’ve been playing ever since I was 4 or 5 years old.
What do you enjoy the most about soccer?
The most exciting thing is scoring a goal. It’s a relationship with the ball. I also enjoy the adrenaline rush before a game. You’re excited and nervous at the same time.
What are your plans for next year?
I want to play college soccer. I’m looking at my options, but hopefully, I can play up north or at least out of the state.
Are you from Florida originally?
No. I’m from Venezuela. I moved to Florida eight years ago.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Maracana — the soccer stadium in Brazil. I would love to be able to watch a game there.
Who is your biggest role model?
Kaka. He’s a Brazilian soccer player. Not only is he one of the best, but also his personality is very warm and optimistic. I picture myself being like that.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Of course I want to be a professional soccer player, but I’ve always had this dream of being the president of Venezuela.
What’s your favorite subject?
Economics. I plan to study international relations.
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Food and fun
The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance and its Young Leaders Alliance have something to talk about: the organizations collected 764 pounds of nonperishable food and $1,295 cash to benefit The Food Bank of Manatee/Meals on Wheels PLUS.
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A little “Ho! Ho! Ho!” can go a long way this holiday season.