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Kickin’ it, Guatemalan style

Soccer is incredibly popular across the globe. There have been a plethora of events within the past few months to spur the soccer hype into the regular season. Events like the Champions League won by Real Madrid, followed by the most entertaining world competition, the FIFA World Cup, added to the fervor. The World Cup is a competition bringing many different styles of play and an overflow of different cultures to one stage. The Golden Eagles are keen on bringing their own similar atmosphere to Case Soccer Complex, and Pamela Caballeros is part of the momentum.

Pamela Caballeros / Photo by Josh Crow

Caballeros was born in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, a country small in size but large in heart, bringing a boost of culture and a hint of flair, she is part of a new wave of change for ORU soccer. While the official roster lists Edmond, Oklahoma as her hometown, she still brings the Latin style of play to the pitch.

“I would say Guatemalan style of play fits in with the Latin style of play, which is more technical on the ball,” said Caballeros. “I love the ball at my feet and taking people on.”

It is a trait found in stars like Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho, players who have inspired the young midfielder.

Even though Messi and “Dinho” are part of her inspiration, Caballeros credits most of her play and love of soccer to the men in her family.

“I have three older brothers. I definitely have to thank them and my father for getting me really involved and focused on the sport at a really young age,” she said.

Caballeros started playing when she was four, two years after she moved to the United States. Moreover, she sees a stark contrast between the styles of play in the two countries.

“In Guatemala, soccer is more technical, and in the U.S., I feel like it consists more of strength and speed in the final third.”

Photo provided by Pamela Caballeros

Due to the Guatemalan national team not having much money within their organization, she saw greater opportunities to pursue a professional career, leading her ultimately to Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“My journey was out of the blue,” she said. “I began getting offers and I had great opportunities, but I just didn’t know what to choose. I committed to a D-1 school in Louisiana but the summer before my senior year I decided to de-commit from there.”

At the time, she didn’t know if her previous offers were still standing especially since she had already committed.

“I was speaking to Sean Jones, coach and father to ORU alumna Lexi Jones, and I told him I de-committed and he mentioned ORU,” she said.

Shortly thereafter, ORU and its coaching staff came to scout the young prospect during her state tournament, leading to an official visit.

“When I met coach Roger Bush I just knew this was where I was supposed to go.”

She feels her decision to attend ORU was initially difficult, but turned out to be incredibly beneficial.

“The past two years I have been out due to an ankle injury, so this will be my first college season,” she said. “There’s no room for nerves now. It’s time to get business done.”

Caballeros’ mantra has permeated its way through the rest of the locker room.

“This season is going to change the course of the women’s soccer program,” she said. “Each year it’s expected for the freshmen class to bring something different. I believe our freshmen class is doing so. There is a high standard on and off the field and the standard will only become higher. The entire team along with the programs’ staff are ready.”

Along with her teammates, they are prepared to improve and surpass all expectations this year––a mindset infused through culture, dedication and an atmosphere created only by purpose to be the best ORU girls soccer team on the brink of unbridled success.