Hernandez, 14, adapting well on college football scene

Monique Hernandez is one of many talented Caymanian female footballers making an impression in high school and college leagues in the United States. 

The 14-year-old Caymanian has just joined Karl G. Maeser Preparatory High School in Utah and is settling in well. She finds that “everyone is extremely friendly and helpful.” 

However, the school work has been more difficult than expected. Hernandez said, “It has required me to be more organized, having to balance traveling with the team and making sure my homework and class work is completed on time.” 

Players are expected to attend all practices, traveling sometimes four hours away to play games, while keeping up their Grade Point Average for school. 

Their football style is very different to what she is used to. 

“For example, there’s a mercy rule,” she said. “How it works is that, during the match if a team is winning 8-0 or more by halftime, you only play 10 minutes (instead of 40) of the second half and then we end it early.” This is to avoid the defeated team becoming too demoralized from a heavy defeat. 

Hernandez fit in quickly on the football scene and feels lucky that she has been picked for the club and school teams. “I am one of the youngest in the team to qualify to play at varsity level.” 

She finds that training is extremely intense and draining. “We have to train in very cold weather at times and the elevation makes it hard to breathe.” 

She likes the fact that on Fridays they have a training session study hall, which gives the athletes a chance to complete class and homework as well as get tutoring from the teachers. 

“Our team is doing really good this season and we are currently ranked No. 8 in the state’s overall ranking and No. 95 in the whole nation,” Hernandez said. “We are ranked No. 2 in Division 2A and missing being No. 1 only by a goal difference of three goals.” 

Hernandez was aware of how important good nutrition is to performance before she arrived in the U.S., but it is really emphasized at Karl G. Maeser Prep. “In order to succeed as an athlete, our eating habits also need to change,” she said. “One of the biggest challenges when our national team travels is getting players to adopt healthy eating habits.” 

A typical meal is chicken and veggie tacos (corn tortilla) with a glass of water or lemonade. 

Players are expected to attend all practices, traveling sometimes four hours away to play games, while keeping up their Grade Point Average for school. 

Monique Hernandez is honing her skills in Utah. - PHOTO: RON SHILLINGFORD

Monique Hernandez is honing her skills in Utah. – PHOTO: RON SHILLINGFORD
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  1. "For example, there’s a mercy rule," she said. "How it works is that, during the match if a team is winning 8-0 or more by halftime, you only play 10 minutes (instead of 40) of the second half and then we end it early." This is to avoid the defeated team becoming too demoralized from a heavy defeat.

    This has to be American "saaaker" LOL!

    I never saw the USA women’s team show Japan any ”mercy” in the recent World Cup final.

    Why do the American continue to make up their own football rules that the rest of us find ridiculous…and hilarious ?

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