Adolfo Maldonado of Pitman High has decided to attend California State University, Stanislaus on a soccer athletic scholarship.
When Maldonado signed his letter of intent to play collegiate soccer on Thursday afternoon, no one anticipated that it would be one of the most emotional signings to-date for the school and for Athletic Director Dave Walls.
“I have never been part of such an emotional signing,” said Walls a bit teary eyed. “For what this kid has gone through of not having both parents around, boy he is tough and how can they not be proud of what he has done.”
“My family has gone through a lot of stuff,” Maldonado said. “It’s hard and my dad hasn't really been around since he works out of the country and it was emotional to see him again and to see everyone; I was really happy. I chose Stanislaus to be near my family and since the coaches wanted me.”
Over 30 friends, family members, faculty, staff members and his high school soccer coach were all present as they watched Maldonado take steps towards his future.
Maldonado also became the first member of his family to fulfill a lifelong dream to play collegiate soccer.
“I have just dreamt about this, going to college to play soccer. It's really just a dream to me and a big accomplishment, but hopefully more accomplishments are still ahead,” he said.
The dream began when he was a young boy and watched soccer with his dad.
“Since I was little I loved soccer. My dad got me into it because he played when he was younger and since then it’s all I been doing,” Maldonado said. “Whether I had a bad day or stressed, I'd just go out and play soccer and it frees me. I feel really happy when I'm out there; it takes me to a whole different world. I love it.”
From the age of nine, Maldonado has been heavily involved in travel ball and saw that his ability was flourishing so he leaped at the opportunity to play at Pitman.
While at Pitman, Maldonado was a member of the varsity team for three years. He scored 17 goals along with 27 assists. As a junior he was named to the Central California Conference second team all-league and this past year as a senior, he was part of the CCC's first team and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player.
The Pride also made the postseason the prior two years with his assistance and went on to be ranked as high as eighth in the state of California during the 2013 season.
“He has been a hard working kid and is very grateful,” Pitman boys soccer head coach Oscar Mercado said of Maldonado. “To see him grow and play on the field has been special. He has an ability to play at the next level; he is gifted and has something special about him. I am happy to see him move on.”
“To see everybody being really happy for me, I owe it all to them because they have all helped me through the tough times,” Maldonado said of all the support. “With all that I have been through it motivates me to create a better life and opportunity for myself and for them and help them with everything because I want to make them proud.”