Athlete of the Week: Emelia Warta


Lukas Werner

Emelia Warta has enjoyed playing soccer for La Salle and has a lot of fun with her team. “I feel like everyone gets along, there’s no cliques or issues on our team and if someone is having an issue I feel like we’re really open about it and we all trust each other so much,” she said.

Jasmine McIntosh, Staff Reporter

Junior Emelia Warta first started playing soccer when she was three years old and hasn’t stopped since. Warta’s family is one reason she got involved in soccer as “both of [her] older sisters played soccer, so [she] was kind of just born into a soccer family,” she said.

Warta “really liked the competitive factor of [soccer],” and now plays for La Salle’s varsity soccer team and for the Portland Thorns Academy. It has been easy to balance both club and school teams as the “club season ends when my high school soccer season begins,” she said.

During games, Warta’s main role is to score goals. She plays attacking center mid, and enjoys “being able to go forward and score,” she said. As for the post-goal celebrations, “Me and Natalie Pfleger, we dab after we score,” she said. “It’s super cringey, but it’s funny.”

Warta definitely sees herself as a leader on her team. “Since I have the most goals on my team, I have a big role on my team, which is to get the ball in the back of the net,” she said. When Warta steps onto the field she is always focused on getting her job done, as well as being a leader and making sure “other people are doing their jobs,” she said.

Although being a leader is an important role, Warta said, “there’s definitely a lot of pressure that comes with it, but I feel like as long as you’re confident with your decision making, [then] people will listen to you. As long as you are respectful about the way you say your opinion, then everyone is going to be glad that you gave feedback.”

During this season, Warta has had a lot of fun with her team and feels like the atmosphere has been overwhelmingly positive. “I feel like everyone gets along,” she said. “[The] team has come together, and we’re finally starting to play as a team.”

On the team, “[there are] no cliques or issues on our team, and if someone is having an issue with someone. I feel like we’re really open about it, and we all trust each other so much,” she said.

Though the team spirit has been high, they have faced some challenges this season.

“We played St. Mary’s, and we were supposed to beat them. And we just went into the game with that mindset that we would beat them, and we ended up losing,” Warta said. 

As for her personal challenges, Warta has struggled with staying well-balanced and being a leader on the team. “For me, it’s been difficult staying focused,” she said. “My role is different than a lot of other people’s on the team and so, as a goal scorer, it’s been hard to focus and keep scoring, you know. So it’s nice to have other people come in and help score too.”

At practices, Warta says everyone has a lot of fun but is able to focus as it gets closer to game day. “We definitely have those super fun practice days because you need that to make sure you’re still having fun,” she said. 

Outside of practice time “I make sure to do stuff on my own,” Warta said. 

Warta puts in extra work because “if I want to play in college and play professionally, I need to do the extra work to be able to get there,” she said.

Warta has learned a lot from soccer in her 13 years of playing, but the most important lesson was never give up. “[Soccer] taught me to really never give up and to always work for what I want,” she said. 

“If I want something in soccer, I have to put in the extra practice and work to get it.”

Part of what fuels her drive, and gives her such a strong mentality, is her family. One of Warta’s biggest role models in the sport is her oldest sister

“I kind of look up to her. She has always worked super hard, and anytime I would come home from my practice, she would be out in our backyard getting even more touches on the ball,” Warta said. Growing up “Whenever I would want to go do soccer, she would always come with and help me so she’s kind of been the person to help me put in that extra work.”

Overall, Warta said her family has been very supportive throughout her soccer career. 

“They’ve definitely kept encouraging me to keep working hard, especially when I feel like I’m doing all the stuff I need to and I’m not seeing the results or improvement or recognition, they keep encouraging me to keep working hard,” she said. 

When Warta is preparing for a game and needs to calm her nerves, she likes to remember where she first started. “I think of myself as a younger player when I was like three, and playing Parks and Rec. I was just out there for the fun of it you know, that’s still what I’m out there to do,” she said.

Her pregame routine also includes music. “I don’t have any specifics but I just listen to rap and things that get me pumped,” she said. The only thing Warta cannot do is, “listen to Young Gravy,” she said. Warta remembers  “Me and my dad were in the car listening to his entire album before one of my games, and I played the worst game of my life.” 

Advice Warta has for incoming freshmen looking to join the team is to, “just be confident when you play. I know I struggled with confidence for a while on the field, but after gaining it, it improved my game so much,” she said “Just make sure you’re putting in the work if you really want something.” 

For Warta, soccer is an enjoyable sport because of, “the fun that it brings me,” she said. “I think it’s so fun to just go out there and to just work really hard and as an attacking player I think it’s so fun to go beat people and score. It’s a cool sport because a lot of things can change in a little time so it keeps you on your toes.”

In the future, Warta wants to keep playing soccer in college. “Right now, Gonzaga or University of Oregon are my top two schools,” she said with certainty.

As for a career as a professional soccer player, “That would definitely be the dream but we’ll see,” she said. All and all, Warta has had a lot of fun so far this year on the soccer team and will continue to work hard to achieve her goals.