By Adam Wolfe
Bella Johnson rose above her competition and was the only girl selected to play on the boys Legacy Under-11 Club Soccer Team.
The opportunity to play at a higher level of competition will help Bella, 10, develop the skills she needs to make her dreams of becoming a member of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team come true. She will be given the chance to play throughout the summer across the San Tan Valley.
For a girl who loves the game, she couldn’t ask for much more than that.
“I’ve been playing since I was 4, and I really love playing soccer,” Bella said. “I love the idea of it and beating players. I think it’s just so fun.”
Bella, who lives in Rancho El Dorado, will look to score goals and make her mark on the season as the team travels around the Phoenix area. The chance to gain skills and experience is not lost on the young forward.
“It’s a good opportunity to me because I always wanted to play on the USA girls’ soccer team,” Bella said. “So this is just another step for it.”
She is the daughter of Jake and Tami Johnson.
“I’m a father of three daughters, and a believer in sports, so it is exciting for me whenever my daughters show interest in sports,” Jake Johnson said. “I’ve been taking Bella to Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury basketball games since she was four years old and now we have found a semi-pro women’s soccer club to watch in the Valley. She loves anything competitive.”
If Bella keeps her passion for the game and continues to play at a high level, there’s no saying how far she can go. For now, she will enjoy the moment and take advantage of the opportunity placed before her.
“Watching her commitment to [Maricopa High School boys’ varsity soccer coach Cortney Kellenaers] player development program was inspiring,” Jake Johnson said. “She put in several hours every week with those trainers for well over a year. Her hard work paid off. Soccer isn’t the biggest thing in her life, but I know it will bless her in many ways. Sports, done right, have a power that will help her life in many ways.”