El Cajon Valley High School alum Raizeen Suleiman knows how to set the tone in the middle of the soccer pitch as an aggressive center midfielder. But when the call came up to fill the position of goalkeeper, Rai gladly accepted the challenge as a way to contribute to the success of her team, as she is always ready wherever she is needed.
"I'm used to playing midfield,” says Rai. “However, when my coach had asked me to play goalie against Santa Ana, I was a little nervous. But I didn't allow that to disturb my game of intensity. I started to attend games of my previous team, and observed the goalie’s movements, in order to imitate and enhance my technique as a goalkeeper.”
Although Cuyamaca lost to Santa Ana 2-0, Rai made an impressive 22 saves, including one penalty kick—an amazing feat, especially for only having played goalkeeper one time prior.
"We have amazingly talented players," she says. "They work really hard during practice.”
Rai is no exception, and learned early on to buckle down to get the job done, no matter the circumstances.
As a child Rai had to mature very quickly, having to help raise her siblings while her family struggled through financial difficulties. The freshman is majoring in psychology because her experience inspired her to aid others in similar circumstances.
Rai plans on continuing her soccer career at a four-year university and is considering transferring to UCSD, but is keeping her options open.