By Todd Wills
Corsicana Daily Sun
Elizabeth Castaneda is all about family.
During a 15-minute interview on Tuesday, close to 75 percent of the conversation focuses on those ties, to her immediate family, relatives in Mexico and her teammates and coaches for the Corsicana Lady Tigers soccer team.
Her soccer family is back in the playoffs, set for Thursday’s Class 4A area round game against Dallas Samuell at 7:30 p.m. in Ennis.
Castaneda, a junior, said the Lady Tigers have come together nicely and have formed a nice bond as they embark on the postseason.
“They’re really fun to be around,” Castaneda said. “If I’m not at home, I’m on the soccer field. I see them as my second family.”
Family is everything. Castaneda’s parents moved to the United States some 30 years ago from Zacatecas in North Central Mexico, a state best known for its rich deposits of silver, its colonial architecture and its importance during the Mexican revolution.
The Castanedas raised a family here in Corsicana, two boys and a daughter. The siblings have two major things in common — their passion for soccer and their passion for education.
The oldest, Eduardo, was an outstanding goal scorer for the Tigers and graduated from Texas Tech and lives in Abilene.
Mario, another standout for the Tigers boys soccer program, is in his third year at the University of Texas in Austin.
Elizabeth is ranked No. 40 in her class. Though she wore a crimson Oklahoma Sooners’ T-shirt on Tuesday — it was red T-shirt day for the Lady Tigers — Elizabeth said she would like to attend TCU, Texas State or Texas Tech.
First, she wants to outscore her brothers for her high school career on the soccer pitch.
“She wants to be successful,” Lady Tigers coach Stan Jones said. “Her family is what pushes her. She wants to outscore her brothers.”
Eduardo, Mario and Elizabeth are the first three members of their family to graduate or attend college, or in the youngest’s case, be set for the next step in education.
“My parents are really proud,” Elizabeth said. “They like to see us succeed.”
She still feels a close connection to her Mexican heritage, which again brings it back to family. Elizabeth has many aunts and uncles who live in Mexico — her grandparents do live in Corsicana — and both of her parents come from large families.
But Elizabeth said she doesn’t get to go back to her parents’ native country as often as she did when she was younger.
“Not as often anymore because of all of the violence,” Castaneda said. “It makes me a little sad because I miss my family.”
Fortunately, there is soccer. She’s been playing as long as she can remember, in the YMCA leagues and with her older brothers and relatives — two of her cousins are on the Lady Tigers, Marisol and Nancy Miranda.
Elizabeth has tallied 23 goals this season playing right wing. She began her career as a defender, but asked to moved up to forward last season.
She is one of the Lady Tigers’ fastest players, which helps lead to many of her goals.
“She’s talented,” Jones said. “She brings us the speed up front to stretch the defense.”
Castaneda’s family, the soccer one, is ready for a playoff run.
“We can go far,” Castaneda said. “If everything goes right, we can go far.”
The Castaneda File
Favorite school subject: History
Favorite musical artist: Drake
Favorite pre-game meal: Chicken
Celebrity crush: Adam Levine of Maroon 5