Athlete of the Month: Leah Kolek

Athlete of the Month: Leah Kolek

Vrinda Chauhan, Staff Writer

Known as an aggressive player, senior varsity soccer captain Leah Kolek dominates both on and off the field. Kolek has been on the varsity team since the middle of her freshman year and has consistently led the Brahmas to success ever since.

Influenced by her family, Kolek began playing soccer as a youngster.  By the age of eight, Kolek was already playing at clubs such as the American Soccer Youth Organization and FC Barcelona. Since then, Kolek played for various clubs throughout elementary and middle school.

Kolek, then, joined the Diamond Bar High School soccer program, where her determination landed her on junior varsity team in her freshman year. She quickly earned her way onto the varsity team mid-season that year. She has been on varsity ever since. Kolek earned her title as team captain her senior year and has led the team to the CIF playoffs twice.

Among her many prestigious achievements, her most memorable one was during a game last year against Los Altos, where she scored the winning header of the game.

“At first, I just really liked the sport and being active, but I started motivating myself to get a scholarship as I got older,” Kolek commented.

Her hard work throughout her high school career proved to be fruitful, as Kolek also recently received an athletic scholarship to Whittier College and plans to play Division II soccer there. Although she desires to convert her passion for athletics into a career, Kolek remains uncertain on whether she wants to join National Women Soccer League after college.

Of course, being soccer captain is not always easy for Kolek. Because of her aggressive nature on field, she is frequently in feuds with referees and is, on many occasions, forced to sit out of games during crucial moments.

“It’s one of the worst feelings ever, watching everyone play and wanting to play yourself, but not being able to,” Kolek explained.

Another hurdle the player had to tackle was balancing her school workload with her soccer schedule. However, despite her hectic schedule as a student athlete, Kolek manages to maintain a 3.4 GPA.

Kolek is inspired to do her best by Diamond Bar alumni and professional soccer player Alex Morgan. Kolek uses Morgan as a driving motivation to improve as a player.

“I really like that feeling of winning and being competitive and sort of having that ‘game’ mindset. It’s kind of like an escape when I play [because] I’m not stressed. I’m really close to a lot of my friends because of it, too, and it’s become more of a lifestyle for me,” Kolek commented.