Top Dog of the Week: Sara Jo Ciapponi

Midfielder Sara Jo Ciapponi celebrates with teammate after scoring her first collegiate goal. (Fresno State Athletics)

Name: Sara Jo Ciapponi #23

Sport & Position: Soccer, Midfielder

Year & Major: Junior, Recreation Administration

Hometown: Alameda, Calif.


JW: How did it feel scoring your first collegiate goal in such a crucial game-time situation?

SJC: That was honestly one of the best feelings I’ve had. It was amazing. The environment was amazing. The way it happened was amazing. It was so nice to put us back in the game and to get us back to where we could really start to fight again. We really put them under some pressure, so it was a perfect opportunity for a first goal.

JW: How long have you been playing soccer?

SJC: I’ve been playing soccer since I was about 4.

JW: Where did your passion for playing soccer originate?

SJC: I kind of just came upon it myself. Neither of my parents played, and I just had a love for sports at such a young age. I was a really hyper kid, and I was playing all sorts of things. I tried basketball. I tried everything, and I wasn’t very good. Then they put me on the soccer field, and I just fell in love. I kind of just threw myself in it, and my parents kept me there.

Sara Jo Ciapponi

Sara Jo Ciapponi

JW: Who is your favorite soccer player, or athlete, and why?

SJC: I really look up to Abby Wambach. Her outlook on games, the way she plays, and how she plays with such passion and drive is really something that inspires me and inspires a lot of people. She just plays with such heart and such enthusiasm that it echoes off onto the entire team.

JW: If you weren’t playing soccer, what sport would you be playing? Would you play a sport at all?

SJC: If I wasn’t playing soccer, I’d probably run track even though I don’t really like to run, but I’m kind of fast. My hand-eye coordination is awful, so I would have to do something without a ball.

JW: What are your plans once you graduate?

SJC: After I graduate I am hopefully going to be working with a sports team as some sort of event planner. I hope to work in the NFL or the NBA or something like that and work with sports because sports are such a big part of my life. They aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

JW: If there is one thing you could tell your younger self knowing what you know now, what would it be?

SJC: It would be that it’s not easy. I never did think it was easy, but just looking back on my years playing here, it’s hard to be a student-athlete. It’s hard to motivate yourself and push yourself when you’re down or when you’re not having the best game, when you’re losing. Pretty much, keep your head up. Don’t let yourself get too down. Push through because everything works out in the end.

JW: What does it mean to you to be a Bulldog?

SJC: It’s really an honor to be a Bulldog. It’s an honor to represent Fresno State and all the people of Fresno. It means a lot to me. It makes me proud to be a Bulldog wherever I go. People recognize you. People know who you are. They come up and ask you questions and ask you for autographs. There’s no better feeling than to be a Bulldog.


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