Ariana Diaz has always been a sharp shooter in front of goal – now she is learning how to do it for real.

The teenage soccer sensation established herself as a top striker at NCE Soccer and has now made the step up to Division One with the US Military Academy West Point.

Ariana fell in love with West Point through her brothers Cross Country and Track and Field endeavours at West Point.

Having set her sights on the Division One team she used the skills learned at NCE Soccer to cement her place there for the coming season.

“In the summer of my sophomore year, I chose to commit to the United States Military Academy (West Point)! I learned more about the school through my brother, who is a recruited Cross Country and Track and Field Athlete here.

“The school piqued my interest through its mission; to produce leaders of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country in order to serve the nation.

“I attended a few college ID camps with college coaches, who guided me through how to contact coaches properly. I took everything that I learned from those experiences and applied it to my own recruiting process, which helped me tremendously when finding West Point!

“I contacted them via email to watch me play at a showcase, and after that, they reached out to me to go to their ID Clinic that summer. After the clinic, I was offered a spot on the team.”

Ariana is a free-scoring centre forward who is full of energy and passion who has been training with NCE Soccer since 2016. She believes the program has improved her technical ability and confidence and helped her career to flourish.

She added: “I love playing as a center forward. Growing up, my family always loved to run in races, so I grew to love running as well. I thought the best position for me to do that was as a center forward, and who doesn’t love scoring goals?

“I started playing soccer when I was 4 years old. Growing up, my mom put me in a ton of sports, such as lacrosse, flag football, softball, basketball, volleyball, and track, but soccer resonated with me the most. The sport allowed me to feel a sense of freedom, giving me the chance to be creative. I love that!

“I played with town’s soccer club team, Farmingdale Soccer Club (FSC) before joining East Meadow Soccer Club ECNL (EMSC ECNL) in Long Island, NY in my Freshman year.

“I was introduced to NCE Soccer in the Spring of 2016, when I was 10 years old. At the time, I was looking for extra training to develop myself technically while training with my club team.

“After my very first practice, I loved the energy of the coaching staff and the advice they gave me, so I continued to come to practices. The people motivated me to get better not only as a player, but as a person, making new connections!

“I really loved the indoor tournaments! Getting to know other people from different club teams and states while learning how they also played helped me adjust to different playing styles, plus they were so fun! One of the biggest highlights must be Gothia Cup in the summer of 2018. Playing with a top team against teams from different countries was such a cool experience!

“NCE gave me the confidence to attack as a striker and helped me improve of my first touch, passing and dribbling technique, which I lacked during the time. It also allowed me to adapt to other players and communicate with them.”

Ariana’s progress has not gone unnoticed and she was called up by the Dominican Republic National Team and a place in the team for Under 20s in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers.

Although Arianna was born and raised in the United States and is fiercely passionate about her country she was fascinated to explore her families roots which go back to the Caribbean.

“Both of my parents are immigrants, and my grandmother from my mother’s side worked there jobs to get my mom to where she is now, enjoying a successful career as an accountant.

“I didn’t really get the chance to know her since she passed away early on in my life, but listening to her story from my family moved me and she inspires me to challenge myself for a better future for myself (like how she did for my family).

“It was this side of my family that inspired me to be on the Dominican Republic national team. I’m a very family orientated person, and being able to represent that part of me brought me closer to my family.

“Their national team recruiter watched me at a college showcase here in the states, contacted my club, and later invited me to a camp in November 2021 to evaluate me more as a player.

“Later in my junior year, I had the absolute honor to play for the U20 Dominican Republic National Team (DRWNT) in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers. Later that year, I was also called up to the U17 DRWNT.

“I chose to be a part of the national team to get to know my father’s culture more, which allowed me to see my family more often and connect with others in order to help me become a better player.

“Being on these teams caused me to away for about half the year, both my junior and senior year. Learning to adapt to a different environment and play style is what I believe made me become a better player, and having some international experience was awesome!”

Now though, her sights are set on West Point and the United States Military. She is passionate about wanting to serve her country and insists she will have no hesitation in placing herself in harms way if required.

“I wanted to join the military to give back to this country,” she added.

“I believe West Point is the best place for me to achieve that, and by giving back, I mean giving back to this country that granted my family to have endless opportunities.

“I’m not going to lie, serving on the front line did worry me but the training here at West Point prepares me for that and sticking to my ‘why’ motivates me to put my all into serving my country.

“West Point is a military academy whose goal is to educate and develop commissioned leaders of character who pursue careers of excellence. While you are here at West Point, you are enlisted in the Army.

“Each summer, we do some sort of military training, for example, this past summer, I was at Cadet Basic Training (CBT) to meet the requirements to be integrated with the Corps of Cadets.

“Some of the training includes Land Navigation (or finding points on a map and apply them to real-world terrain features), learning to shoot different types of weapons, how to repel off a cliff, working together as a team to complete missions or tasks, rucking (or marching) with over 40lbs of gear, going into the gas chamber and learning chemical safety, tactical combat casualty care, and more.

“It was a challenging experience, but I learned how to become a better leader and listener!

“While learning about military tactics and training, I also go to school and play soccer too! I wanted to go to a school where I would have a great education for the future and to challenge myself as a leader, and I believe being a part of such a great soccer program and school will allow me to achieve that.”

Ariana plans to study either Chemistry or Chemical Engineering and help West Point to become Conference and Patriot League Champions and with her drive and attitude, you wouldn’t bet against another dream becoming a reality!

* Follow in Ariana’s  footsteps by joining NCE Soccer and benefiting from supplementary coaching, Showcase Tournaments and International Tours to England, Brazil, Italy and Sweden. 

Tryouts are being held throughout THIS DECEMBER at venues across NCE Soccer Regions. To find your nearest venue and apply for a place at tryouts click this link.

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