Leila Azari, senior at The Bolles School, has officially committed to play collegiate soccer at Vanderbilt University. With two high school state championships under her belt and two US Youth Soccer National Championship wins, her skill and control as a forward on the field is undeniable. As she rounds out her senior season, there’s one goal: to win a third consecutive state championship. In the Game Sports Network spoke with Azari, and quite frankly, we were blown away. This young woman is polite, eloquent, and mature beyond her years. With a 4.5 GPA, she has found a perfect balance between academics and athletics.
In the Game: You clearly have a passion for soccer. What is it about the game that you find the most enjoyable?
Leila Azari: I think its very fun to play, and not only that, but I also like the teamwork aspect of it. I like that there are ten other people that I’m playing alongside.
ITG: What would you say your strong point as a forward is?
LA: One of my strong points is working hard, which I try to do every single game I play in. I always try to win the ball or win the tackle even when I’m tired. I also think one of my strengths is dribbling with the ball. It’s always been my favorite thing to do. I enjoy dribbling through defenders, trying to get to the goal any way I can.
ITG: You have had a ton of success with both high school soccer and club soccer. What is it like playing for teams that have such a high winning percentage?
LA: After time, you get used to winning, so it’s important that you never drop that level of intensity that you have. I think that it’s important to keep playing at that level against every single team, whether it’s just a regular league game or a national championship game.
ITG: What was it like committing to such a prestigious university, and what specifically made you choose Vanderbilt?
LA: Once I officially committed, it was a great relief. It’s a very good school academically, and it also has a very promising soccer team with great coaches. I want to contribute to the team in any way I can. I’m just going to start by working as hard as I can and hopefully advancing further in the SEC.
ITG: What do you plan to study at Vanderbilt?
LA: I’m planning to major in neuroscience. I think the courses for that major are very interesting, so I want to give that a shot. Career-wise, I think I’m going to go into some sort of medical field.
ITG: Any hopes to play soccer at a professional level?
LA: I think that I would love to play professional soccer personally because I love the sport, so playing at that level is definitely a goal of mine. I’m planning on seeing how it goes with college before deciding further.
ITG: Do you have any other hobbies?
LA: I do kickboxing, and I recently got my black belt in that. I first joined the class with my parents, just tagging along. I kept going; I earned my white belt and kept moving up. I’ve been doing kickboxing for about seven or eight years. I think it definitely has helped me a lot as far as soccer goes. It’s a balance between working with your legs in soccer and your upper body in kickboxing, so I think it has made me a lot stronger and faster.
The Bolles School Soccer– Senior – Forward
Written by: Sarah Turner
Heading Straight for the Goal: Bolles Senior Prepares for College Soccer Career at Vanderbilt University