USC Track & Field Signs Its Man: Joseph Pedraza
The USC Track & Field program proudly signed 11-year-old multi-sport athlete Joseph Pedraza to a letter of intent at Loker Stadium on the Trojan campus as part of the Team IMPACT Program, it was announced by Director of Track & Field Quincy Watts today (Feb. 1). Team IMPACT tackles the emotional trauma and social isolation experienced by children facing serious and chronic illnesses by matching them with a college athletic team.
"Thank you for all being here today. We have the pleasure of signing one of the best recruits in the country, he's the No. 1 recruit in the country, No. 1 recruit in our hearts, our man Joseph," said Watts. "Its a great day in Trojanland, thank you all for being here!"
"I would like to thank my mom and dad for this opportunity and for my brother for supporting me," said a beaming Pedraza on signing day, January 15.
Joseph is a team player and he started playing sports at the age of 4 but had to take time away during the height of his treatment. He is currently playing soccer and he likes to lead his team in a positive manner. He listens well to the coach. He may not be the most talented player, but he has a heart that will strive to be his best. His work ethic helped him get to play on an All-Star baseball team at 9.
Joseph's parents Jose and Nancy Key and younger brother Jonah were on hand for the ceremony.
Several of Joseph's new teammates were also very excited about the significant signing to the USC Track & Field program:
"Joseph is a great kid who is surrounded by a great family," said Zach Shinnick. "He is full of energy and is a blast to be around. After hanging out with Joseph and going through this Team Impact experience I have gained an appreciation for those who have gone through hardships as a child. His story has motivated me to enjoy every moment of life."
Being able to welcome Joseph onto our team has been fantastic, " said McKay Johnson. "After talking with, and as a result, understanding him more as both a person and teammate, I see qualities of caring, drive, and intelligence. These qualities persist in everything he does. The first time I met Joseph through a zoom call, he was very engaged and always spoke in a positive manner about himself and others. While Joseph is still new to our team, I'm excited to continue our friendship, as well as expand his connection to his newfound team… our USC Track team. The work that Team Impact is doing has been imperative in forming this relationship. Team Impact has created a fun, substantial environment where we can all grow as teammates."
I have never met a kid with so much energy and passion as Joseph," said Daniel Robinson. "His energy is contagious, and it has been a blessing and a pleasure to meet Joseph and his wonderful family. I am grateful for the work that Team IMPACT is doing for the kids and student athletes across the country. It has already had a very positive effect on my life. "
Joseph and the USC Track & Field team can typically be found practicing almost every weekday afternoon.