Q&A With Zulma Munoz
Sept. 16, 2009
BERKELEY - Sophomore midfielder Zulma Munoz joined the California women's soccer team this year after playing her freshman season on the Cal club team. A native of Berkeley, Munoz did not have to go very far to find her dream school in Cal. Munoz, who is the first person in her family to go to college, is a well-rounded student-athlete who also gives back to her community. CalBears.com sat down with Munoz to find out more about the newcomer.
CalBears.com: You are the first person in your family to attend college, was going to college something that was stressed to you a lot growing up?
Zulma Munoz: Definitely. As a young girl, my mom always told me that it was an expectation. My parents never had the opportunity to go to school because they had to work from a very young age. It was always expected by my parents that I'd go to school because in America, we have that opportunity.
CalBears.com: You're a Berkeley native, what is it like to attend college in your hometown?
ZM: It's actually very different. A lot of people ask me if I wanted to get away for school. Even though I'm only four blocks away from where I went to high school, it's a completely different world. I absolutely love it, and I'm very happy. I'm glad that I can see my old teachers from high school and my parents are just a phone call away. I think I'm lucky.
CalBears.com: When you were in high school, did you think you would end up going to college in the same town?
ZM: I went to Berkeley High and I've been in Berkeley schools all my life. I always came on field trips to Cal, and I had tutors that were Cal students, so it was always in the back of my mind. I would also come at halftime with my U-10 team and play at the women's soccer games here. When I got in, I just knew I had to come here - I was so happy.
CalBears.com: You played on the club team last year and now you're on the varsity squad, what has the transition been like for you?
ZM: It's very different. I've had a bit of trouble trying to adjust to the demands of a collegiate soccer team and school, but I really like it. The highlight of my day is coming to practice and playing. Even though I miss my club teammates a lot, and we're still friends and see each other, I just really love the training I get here. I'm becoming a better soccer player, and I love that.
CalBears.com: You volunteer with Team Up for Youth, a non-profit organization that works in engaging girls in sports, how did you get started in that?
ZM: My high school coach works there, and he was the one who originally got me involved. I started off speaking in front of donors at fundraisers. I would basically share my story as a female athlete and just talk about my struggles and growing up in a very traditional Mexican, low-income family. I would tell my story, and my involvement with the organization went from there.
CalBears.com: At 5-0, you're the shortest player on the team, how do you use your height to your advantage?
ZM: Lauren, LB (Lauren Battung) would tell me that it was really hard to defend me because I'm really low to the ground. I would protect the ball because I'm really close to it. I can get away quickly from defenders.
Calbears.com: Since you're from Berkeley, you've probably eaten at every restaurant there is, which one is you favorite?
ZM: I'd have to say Intermezzo.
CalBears.com: If you could snap your fingers and appear somewhere else, where would it be?
ZM: Right now? Probably the beach.
CalBears.com: Which three people would you invite to dinner?
ZM: My mother, a coach I used to work with and play for - Andy, and Betsy Hassett. If it were famous people - I'd invite professional men's soccer players Messi and Rafa Marquez.
CalBears.com: What is your biggest pet peeve?
ZM: When people lie.
CalBears.com: What question would you like the next women's soccer student-athlete who does a Q&A to answer?
ZM: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
To see all past Q&As with the Golden Bears, click here.