Fresno State senior working hard on and off the field

Fresno State defender Danielle Pacheco getting ready to put the ball back into play, during a home game at the Soccer and Lacrosse Field on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (Armando Carreno/The Collegian)

Fresno State’s Danielle Pacheco did not imagine furthering her love for soccer after graduating from Clovis West High School. However, her passion for the sport had kept her on a soccer field throughout her collegiate school years.

Pacheco is a senior in her last year of eligibility, playing as a defender for the Fresno State women’s soccer team. 

She has a twin sister Kaitlyn, who also played soccer with her in high school, but stopped playing after graduating. To this day, Pacheco said that people whom she has known and played with forever still have a hard time telling them apart. 

Pacheco has always been an athlete. She participated in cross country and track all the way through high school, but stuck with soccer entering college. After high school, she joined the Fresno City College women’s soccer team that won a national title. 

Also during her time with the Rams, Pacheco was awarded the Junior College National Player of the Year award in 2018. 

Pacheco said, “I was honestly super surprised, and when my coach told me, he was really surprised too. He was like, ‘We have never had this before,’ so I didn’t really know what to think about it. I was surprised, shocked.”

The soccer season at Fresno State starts in August and ends in November, or it might continue if  the team makes the playoffs. Every day there is constant training, such as weight lifting and watching films, with only some weekends off.

Pacheco said the sport is a lot of work, but it is worth it. 

Brian Zwaschka, head coach of the Fresno State team said that Pacheco came to Fresno State in a unique route. But she came in and worked her way to earn a spot on the team and has become an important part of it. 

“She is a very quiet person. But she is the quiet professional type, where she just works her tail off to get her job done and try to support the team,” Zwaschka said. “She stays real humble and hard-working.”

Although there were other schools talking to her after Fresno City, she decided to stay in her hometown surrounded by family. Also going to a university that had a good nursing program was a part of her final decision. 

Pacheco has been enjoying the time on the soccer field. Playing every day with a good group of athletes is a lot of fun, she said. 

For Pacheco, soccer has taught her time management. Any free time she has, she uses to get ahead of her school work that has to be done. 

After college, Pacheco hopes to play for a summer season soccer team, while focusing on her nursing career. She had thought about becoming a traveling nurse given the fact that she wishes to travel around the world in the future. 

Pacheco said that her role models are her parents, working their hardest so that she could be able to play soccer and travel. 

“So [I am] super thankful for that, giving me everything that they can to help me play and support me,” Pacheco said.

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