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East County Athlete of the Week: Niley Molina

The Braden River High girls soccer junior has a team-high 10 goals this season.

Braden River High girls soccer junior Niley Molina.
Braden River High girls soccer junior Niley Molina.
Photo by Ryan Kohn
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Niley Molina is a junior striker/forward on the Braden River High girls soccer team. Molina has a team-high 10 goals for the Pirates, who are 8-1-2 as of Jan. 8. Braden River will play Palmetto High (6-1-3) at 7 p.m. Jan. 11 at home. 

When did you start playing soccer?

I started when I was 8 years old. My dad (Nelson Molina) played soccer and he put me into it first. I kept playing because I loved it. I played a lot of other sports: Swimming, basketball, tennis. But soccer is the one that stuck. 

What is the appeal to you?

I like the creativity that goes with the game. You can show a lot of personality in how you play. I love everything about that. 

What is your best skill?

I would say my vision. I'm not the fastest player out there but I'm quick and I'm smart. I can see plays as they are happening. And since I am a striker, I can score goals, too. 

What have you been working to improve?

My conditioning and speed. I'm always trying to get faster. I don't play club soccer anymore, so I'm not getting all of the other work that players who do play club get every day. I go to the gym six times a week and I do what I can to get better. 

What has helped your team start the season strong?

Our communication has been great. We have a lot of chemistry together and it shows when we play. 

What are your personal goals for the rest of the season?

I guess I would like to have 15 or 16 goals. But I have not thought about it much. I honestly did not know how many goals I had before this. It's more about the team's success for me. 

What is your favorite food?

Pizza. You can customize it how you want and change it up. Italian sausage, pepperoni, a little olive oil drizzle, it's up to you. 

What are your hobbies?

I love going to the gym and I play video games. I've been playing Call of Duty, Fortnite and Valorant, things like that. 

Which superpower would you pick?

I'd like to go back in time and fix things. Not that I've done anything bad. There's just some things I would change. I would have kept playing club soccer, for one. 

What is your favorite school subject?

Right now it is probably math. I'm doing well in it and academic validation is a thing for me. (Laughs.) 

What is the best advice you have received?

There will always be someone out there working harder than you. That gives me motivation to work and to be my best self. 

Finish this sentence: "Niley Molina is … "




Ryan Kohn

Ryan Kohn is the sports editor for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. He was born and raised in Olney, Maryland. His biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. His strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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