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East County Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 1 year ago

East County Athlete of the Week: Valeria Pankey

The Lakewood Ranch girls soccer player talks being left-footed and wanting to travel back in time.
by: Ryan Kohn Sports Reporter

Valeria Pankey is a junior forward/midfielder on the Lakewood Ranch High girls soccer team. She scored the game-winning goal in the Mustangs' 1-0 win against Braden River Jan. 16. 

When did you start playing soccer?

When I was 3. Everyone in my family played so I played it, too. I played a lot of sports, like softball, swimming and tennis, but soccer was my favorite.

What is the appeal of soccer to you?

One player doesn't make the whole team. You win as a group and you lose as a group. 

What is your best skill?

It is probably my corner kicks. I am a lefty. I am the only one on the team, actually. It seems like opponents are never expecting to face a left-footed kick on corners, so I use that to my advantage. 

What has been your biggest challenge?

Any time you change teams is difficult. This year I moved to a new club team (Sarasota FC) and I had to get to know everyone from scratch. Everyone else had been with the team a while and knew each other and had chemistry. I had to slowly find the feel of everything and fit in. 

What is your favorite food?

Steak, cooked medium well. 

What is your favorite TV show?

"The Vampire Diaries" on Netflix. 

Which superpower would you pick?

Probably to travel back in time. I find the Roaring '20s fascinating and want to experience that time, so I would do that.

What is your favorite subject?

I like science a lot. I want to be a biology major when I go to college. 

What is your dream vacation spot?

Going to Spain. Part of my family is from there. They now live on an island off the coast (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) and I would love to visit them. 

What is the best advice you have received?

To pick myself up whenever I fall. My teammates help with that too, they are always supportive of everyone. 

Finish this sentence: "Valeria Pankey is … "

… Outgoing. I definitely talk louder than most. 

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I’m the sports reporter for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. I was born and raised in Olney, MD. My biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. My strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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