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East County Athlete of the Week: Natalie Gorji

The ODA sophomore talks soccer and Paris.

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Natalie Gorji 15, is a sophomore forward on The Out-of-Door Academy girls soccer team. She scored a hat trick in the Thunder's 5-0 win against Saint Stephen's Episcopal Nov. 14. 

When did you start playing soccer?

When I was 3. My brother (Trevor Gorji) already played, so it was in the family.

What is the appeal of soccer?

I mostly love the team, actually. I love the bonding. Winning is obviously fun, too (laughs). 

What is your best skill?

Probably speed and footwork. Speed has always been one of my best attributes, but footwork has gotten better over the years. I'm playing for a new club (Tampa Bay United) and the coaches there are into the footwork. 

What is your favorite soccer memory?

Last year, when we reached the 1A regional semifinals with a (7-1) win against First Baptist Academy. We then played a tough game (against Evangelical Christian) and we lost 1-0 in the last minute. This year, we hope to get even farther.

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome?

It's probably the first time a coach (of Real SoCal in Los Angeles) tried to give me advice. I was little (7) and didn't know how to take criticism. I remember crying. Over time you learn that listening to coaches' advice is the the best way to improve. I didn't know that then. 

What is your favorite school subject?

Math in general, but also photography. It's a fun class overall and I like taking photos. 

What is your dream vacation spot?

I would go to Paris. I want to see the Eiffel Tower. My dad (Bijan Gorji) lived in France when he was young and I want to see it. I have heard it's pretty. 

What is your favorite food?

Shrimp pasta. My dad makes a great one. 

What is the best advice you have received?

If something bad happens, let's say it was a bad game and you lost, focus on it for a little bit and then move onto to the next one. It's OK. This isn't only soccer-related, it applies to anything.

Finish this sentence: "Natalie Gorji is ... "

... A kind, adventurous and fun girl who loves to live every moment to the fullest. This is getting deep, but I enjoy every moment and try to focus on the present. 


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