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Morgan Hill
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August 15, 2022

Morales makes an impact on, off field

Kayla Morales will never be mistaken for a rah-rah type of player. Rather, the Sobrato High senior lets her actions do all the talking. Quiet, unassuming and humble, Morales has been an integral part of a Bulldogs team that is seeking its first Central Coast Section playoff championship in program history.
Morales, who has made a verbal commitment to play at Cal State East Bay in Hayward, scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win at Branham two weeks ago. Morales took a nice pass from Hannah Pefferlen and went to the far post after making a strong run down the wing.
“That is the bread and butter play for her,” Sobrato coach Ted Thomas said. “She has three goals just like that this season. The ball got played in from the middle, and Hannah got it out to Kayla, who bounced out wide and took her defenders out on the  wings before cutting in. She hits it to the far post every time. When I see her on the outside making plays like that, we have a really good shot at winning the game.”
Morales has had a blast playing on this year’s team, which entered the week at 8-0-3 overall and 5-0-1 in the Blossom Valley League’s Mount Hamilton Division.
“The girls make it fun,” she said. “We have a lot of players on the varsity who have been playing together for a long time, and we’ve had a chance to grow together and get closer. I feel like we bond on and off the field well.”
On the field, Morales’ talent is evident. Taller than most of her peers, Morales is strong on the ball and always calm. She rarely looks rushed, makes pinpoint passes and has a rocket for a shot. It’s no coincidence that Morales has reached this point; after all, she is an incredibly hard worker who has made her way to the top.
“Kayla has worked really, really hard to get to the level she’s at,” Thomas said. “She expects herself to play at a high level all the time. When it comes to the games, she sees the game differently than everybody else. Match that with her skill, and that is what makes her so special.”
For Morales, earning a college scholarship was something she didn’t even dream about until she got to high school.
“When I got my first email from a college coach in my freshman year, that boosted my confidence,” she said.
In conversations with Cal State East Bay coach Amy Gerace, Morales recalled Gerace saying, “She liked how I played smart on the field, my movement and that I didn’t really panic.” Cal State East Bay offered Morales the scholarship last summer; however, Morales weighed her options for a couple of months before making a verbal commitment shortly after Thanksgiving Day.
In between then, a couple of out-of-state colleges offered Morales a scholarship, but she knew she wanted to stay closer to home. Morales has earned an athletic scholarship despite balancing soccer, school and work. Morales works two jobs, carries a 3.81 GPA and is involved in community service.
Even in an era when high-achieving high school graduates are doing great things, Morales’ resume is second to none. More important, Morales’ heart to give back will make an impact in other people’s lives far after her soccer career is over. Morales has done an array of civic-minded activities, including feeding the homeless, blood drives and helping to change fire alarms in people’s houses to make sure they are up to date.
Morales is also taking a class called AVID, which requires student to make a proposal for a project and complete 50 hours of work for a  given semester. For her project, Morales and teammate Jessica Gonzales are going to do a blood drive based off of sickle cell disease and how it affects people.
“We’re trying to build a program that educates people and help promote more people to donate blood and save other people’s lives,” she said.

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