The Lakewood Ranch senior talks Eckerd College and committing to fitness
Hajar "Rue" Benjoud is a senior forward on the Lakewood Ranch High girls soccer team. Benjoud, who is committed to Eckerd College, recorded a hat trick and an assist in the Mustangs' 8-0 win against Sebring High on Jan. 18.
When did you start playing soccer?
When I was 4. My dad (Omar Benjoud) was a professional player in Morocco, so he wanted me to play. I used to only want to do cartwheels in the fields all day, but I played eventually.
What is the appeal to you?
For me, it is about getting the results you want after working hard for them. Staying disciplined and realizing that it will pay off.
What is your best skill?
I am a technical player. I keep the ball close to me, and I shout and set up plays. And I can finish them.
What is your favorite memory?
My sophomore year, against Manatee High, I had close to a 50-yard free kick attempt, and I converted, right off the outside post (and into the net).
What has been your biggest challenge?
My fitness. I used to alway get by doing the bare minimum, but the last two years, I have worked hard to improve my fitness. Now I can maintain my stamina for a full 90 minutes while running.
Why choose Eckerd?
The coaching staff is great. I play club soccer for Tampa Bay United, and the coaches come to my games all the time. It just became clear it was the best option for me. Plus, it is right off the beach.
What is your favorite food?
I love bean and cheese burritos.
What is your dream vacation?
I want to visit Mexico and Morocco. I have family in both places.
What is the best advice you have received?
To have a "minor setback for a major comeback" mindset.
Finish this sentence: "Hajar Benjoud is ... "
... Grateful for those around me. I would not be here without support from my family and friends.