UNION, NJ – Andrea Santiago has been chosen Union High School’s September Female Athlete of the Month, sponsored by Service Professionals.

Santiago is a senior on the girls soccer team and scored one goal and two assists in September.  She is ranked fifth in her class and has a 4.65 grade point average.

What is your favorite part of being a high school athlete?

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There are so many great things about being a high school athlete, I couldn’t possibly choose one favorite part. I love being able to practice every day after school. Being a student-athlete has brought so many great people into my life to learn from, overcome obstacles with, and be inspired by (teammates, staff, coaches).

Who is your favorite athlete and why?

My favorite athlete is Tobin Heath. As a young girl I fell in love with her quick, technical, and crafty style of play. We play the same position so whenever I practice, I try to mimic what she would do in a fitness session, practice, or game. Watching her play and following her journey has inspired me to stay focused on my goals, and to have fun with it. I also like Rose Lavelle.

What are the most important attributes of being a leader?

Effective leaders must be hardworking, informed, motivational, and humble. As a leader  I constantly search for ways to bring my team closer, set an example, and keep the energy positive. I’ve come to find that the best leaders can identify their teammates best qualities and bring them out.

What is your greatest high school accomplishment so far?

Being inducted into the National Honors Society.

Do you play any other sports? What’s your favorite?

I also run track. While I love it, my favorite is still soccer.

What’s your favorite subject? Why?

My favorite subjects are math and science. They are both subjects that can be discussed and studied worldwide. It’s like speaking a language the world can understand.

If you could spend the day with anyone in the world alive or dead, who would it be?

I would spend the day with my grandfather, “Abuelito Johnny”  who passed away when I was very young. My grandfather was a well-known track coach in Puerto Rico who played a major role building up the community. I would have loved to get to know him more and learn from him.

What would your words of wisdom to be future UHS Athletes?

“Don’t quit before the miracle happens.” My track coach once told me this, and it has stuck with me ever since. Give it your all even when you feel you have nothing left to give, keep pushing through, it’s the “hard days” that build you to be great. Also, set high goals for yourself, and remain disciplined, only you can determine how far you can and cannot go.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Not entirely sure yet, but I’ve been considering something in S.T.E.M. (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) with some sort of Management.

What was the most difficult thing for you to overcome as a student-athlete?

It would probably be balancing all of my school work while being an athlete. Time management is essential in succeeding as a student-athlete, or in any field for that matter.

Who inspires you?

My parents.

What are your plans after high school?

I plan to study in college, perhaps play on the collegiate level.

Stay tuned for a follow-up story to learn about September's Male Athlete of the Month.