When Karen Guapisaca thinks about her soccer team, the word “family” is what first comes to mind.

“It’s like a family and we have to teach each other and help each other out as much as we can,” explained the Newtown High School senior.

What You Need To Know

  • Karen Guapisaca first learned the sport of soccer playing with her cousins on every street corner and field in the area. Her uncle always encouraged her and brought her along to every game

  • As midfielder, Guapisaca loves chasing down the offense and ruining their chances at the goal

  • The high school senior also maintains straight As while helping out in her community

Her love for the sport first began in her own family. Guapisaca’s uncle was her biggest supporter, bringing her along to play with her cousins on every street corner and field in the area.

Playing with the boys made Guapisaca quite the defender. As a midfielder, she relentlessly sacrifices her body in an attempt to ruin an opponent's run on goal.

“Stopping their goal of making a goal is like, ‘This is my team and you’re not going to score on us,'” joked Guapisaca.

Joining the Newtown High School soccer team was a whole new experience for Guapisaca.

“She started out a little timid. A little quiet," remembers Fernando Carranza, the Newtown High Schools Girls Varsity Soccer Coach. "And then once we gave her that captain role she was like ‘Really? Okay. I guess it’s time for me to start stepping out and stepping up to the team.’ And you could see her development towards that.”

Guapisaca grew up speaking Spanish, which is just another tool the senior has in her belt that helped the team make it to the playoffs for the first time in five years.

“She was that leader on the field," said Carranza. "As soon as I met her, I was like, she’s the one that I’m going to have for the next three years and hopefully lead us to success and here we are now.”

“To see how far she’s willing to go, not only on a personal level but as a team, it’s never about just her. It’s always about the collective,” said Katherine Franciseo, an honors English teacher at Newtown High School who met Guapisaca in her classroom.

That same attitude helps her excel in the classroom and community. The straight A student is always willing to extend a hand to help.

“I’ve been teaching for 14 years and I could literally count the number of students that could actually juggle all the things Karen does," commented Franciseo. "Being an athlete, being a student, working, carrying that responsibility at home is definitely not something you see quite often, but when you do see it you learn to appreciate it so much more.”

Karen Guapisaca will be the first member of her family to go to college. Thanks to her dedication to the sport - and her studies - she earned a scholarship to St. Joseph’s University. She’ll play soccer there in the fall and hopes to once again find family among her new team.