Odette Ascencio is like a ray of sunshine when you meet her.
“I’m just a person that’s very joyful and that loves everyone for who they are and I don’t judge people,” she said.
The Rancho Mirage soccer captain takes leadership to a whole new level.
“She’s a phenomenal team player, team captain, and she went through the hardest times of her life where her mom got diagnosed with cancer,” said Richard Hernandez, one of the girls soccer coaches at Rancho Mirage High School.
Since her mom’s diagnosis, Odette has stepped in to help take care of her and the rest of her family at home. Through all of that, her dedication to the team has never wavered and her smile never faded.
“I’m not afraid to do things, I step up no matter what," she said.
Her coach calls her the one of the strongest people he’s ever known.
((Richard Hernandez - Rancho Mirage girls soccer coach))
“There was a couple games where some of the refs were telling me that she was injured in the game and that was possibly me pulling her out of the game," Hernandez said. “I was like, ‘she’s not coming out of this game… she’s fighting for somebody right now.’”
“I stay strong for myself, but for other people as well,” Ascencio said. “I see my coaches are still here, they’re always right next to me, my mother’s always right next to me, so I have to be there for everyone and I have to stay strong.”
Helping others has always been a passion of hers. She’s a mentor to the younger girls on the team and volunteers in her community.
“Oh her legacy is just how much heart she has for the sport and for family… and not just family, her friends. Her team was her family as well and she wasn’t going to give up on anybody,” Hernandez said.
Ascencio is staying close to home next year at College of the Desert, where she’ll begin studying to become a nurse practitioner.
“And to make this world a brighter place for others,” she said.