By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It’s been nearly three years since Woodburn’s Carla Zamora battled through injury and showed her grit in the Bulldogs first-ever State Championship back in 2019 when they defeated Marist 1-0. Playing slightly more than 66 minutes with five saves and was awarded Player of the Game honors for Woodburn in the game.
“I was coming out for the ball, the girl came and kicked me instead. I went down and I had to come out of the game, I think our backup keeper got injured the first half of that same game so I had to come back in because we didn’t have another person to secure the spot and stay in. Whoever had to come in had to push through it, I knew I had to push through it,” Zamora described the game. “It was a really great experience just because it was our very first State Championship win for girls soccer. Being Player of the Game, being keeper for that and having the shutout was a really great experience. To me it was kind of surprising because I never thought I would make it this far in soccer, but that opened up opportunities for me to come here.”
Thursday afternoon was the last off-season optional training session, indoor session as they battle the ongoing heat wave, featured Zamora getting a feel for playing out in the field after spending last season in net for the Chemeketa Community College Women’s Soccer team. Last season Zamora started and played in 14 games for the Storm where she made 91 saves in a tough season for the 2-10-2 Chemeketa team that battled through injuries.
Zamora, who was the main goalkeeper for the Storm during the 2021-2022 season, pointed towards how eye-opening the experience was for her adjusting to the collegiate game from the prep game on top of the pressures of performing the best to her abilities during the season.
“It’s very different. I thought it was going to be something similar to High School, but I came in and it was super serious like it was on our stuff. I think I did my best, especially since I was the only keeper for that season, so it was kind of tough because I had a lot of pressure on me. I knew I did the best I could do,” the former Bulldog goalie said.
Now with more goalies on the roster, three in total with Zamora, there’s a sense of relief. Zamora will go out to play in the field this season, but if the call of duty for her to play goalkeeper arises again, she’s ready.
“I don’t entirely know for sure, that’s up to Steve. I told him I’m totally fine playing wherever he thinks I’m a good fit for because we got two new keepers, he’s like ‘I’ll have you as a third backup if I need you’ because it happens. I’m really excited to play in the field and show whatever I have to show on the field because of my skills, so I’m just excited to come back and play with all these new girls.”
Familiarity amongst the girls going into their first ‘official’ practice August 1 will be a positive for the squad as they kick off the season off August 9 with an exhibition match against Blue Mountain and their first official game August 10 against Walla Walla.
“I’ve played with a lot of these girls since I was eight years old like Myranda (Marquez), Minga (Huapeo), we use to play club together. Abril (Dimas-Camacho), Katie (Zapata) Alyssa (Hoffman)…It’s going to be a lot better season than what we had last year,” smiled Zamora. “Last year we had a lot of injuries as well. Alyssa for example, she’s back, she’s wanting to be stronger and I think this season’s going to be big for us because I know we’re going to come hard and you’re not going to expect it.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald