We met up with Helene Farris, Senior from Smithson Valley and an up and coming outstanding soccer player in the San Antonio/Hill Country area. Helene talks about her youth, playing high school and her future plans.
Get to know: Helene Farris
How old were you when you started playing soccer and what was the first team you played for?
My first soccer team was the YMCA Strykers. I was 3 years old. But, my parents encouraged me to try everything. Growing up, I studied ballet, folklorico and Krav Maga. I played a lot of different sports including t-ball, basketball, volleyball, track and field, swimming, and triathlon. But, I always came back to soccer. Soccer was my passion. I had the
most fun playing soccer with my friends.
Who is your mentor or biggest influence when it comes to playing soccer?
I’m afraid to name any individual coach or player. I might forget someone. I’ve been blessed to be inspired by so many great coaches and players over the years. Last month, I signed my National Letter of Intent for UTSA. It was an amazing experience to be surrounded by so many of my mentors and influences. Over the years, I’ve trained with such a deep pool of talent in San Antonio from the 05’s to the 01’s. There are plenty of incredible players who continue to inspire me. I’ve adopted certain aspects of their game that I’ve come to admire. And there are some very talented players who have inspired me to work harder to try and stop them from scoring too.
I’ve had many different coaches with contrasting styles over the years. I’ve learned something from all of them. My favorite coaches are the ones who positively encouraged me, held me accountable on and off the field, and always expected more from me.
Though all of these coaches and mentors have been such a big part of my success, my parents have always been there throughout the way. They have been there to pick me up when I’m down and have helped me over the years to be the best I can be.
Who is your favorite player and why?
I really admire Abby Wambach. Watching her play, sometimes it just seemed like she wanted to win a little more than her competitors. I feel like that every time I walk on the field. Later in her career, when Wambach was no longer a full time starter for the U.S. Women’s National Team, she still inspired her team, encouraging her teammates, and leading from the bench.
Who is your favorite team?
I’ve played with a lot of great players and played on some great teams. I’d have to say my current high school team, the Smithson Valley Rangers is my favorite team. We have such great camaraderie and so much depth on this team. I have confidence in every one of my teammates. I have no doubts that each and everyone once of my teammates gives nothing less than their best every game. We also have a lot of fun together.
Besides playing your primary position; is there any other position you play?
I’m comfortable playing anywhere on the field. I was lucky growing up, as my coaches and parents encouraged me to learn all of the different field positions. I even played a little goalkeeper when I was 10 years old. On my club team, I usually play defense. In high school, I usually play holding or attacking midfield.
What have been some of the keys to yours and Smithson Valley’s success this season?
It’s certainly the camaraderie. We have a lot of fun playing soccer together. This is a very deep team in terms of talent. Our goalkeepers and defence work well together to limit scoring opportunities. As midfielders, we are spoiled in terms of the number of target players we have to choose from up top. Everyone is making runs and demanding the ball. We have forwards with a nose for finding the back of the net. Our coaches are very positive and very encouraging, but also have high expectations of our performance.
Have you played at club or academy level? If so, what was your experience like playing for a club?
I started playing club soccer at the age of 5. I’ve played for two local San Antonio clubs. My current club competes in the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL). I’ve greatly enjoyed traveling and competing through the ECNL. I’ve played with and played against some of the best players in the country. It’s made me a better player. I’ve made a lot of lifelong friends along the way too.
What is your pregame ritual? Do you have a favorite song, meal or other thing you do prior to a game?
I currently have two pregame rituals. I like to listen to music that gets me hyped up before the game. My favorite hype song right now is, “Sail” by Awolnation. I know it sounds gross, but I also don’t wash my uniforms after a win or a tie. We’re undefeated this season, so my uniforms are getting pretty rank.
What are your plans after high school? Are you planning to play in college or go pro?
I plan to continue my education and play soccer for the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).
What were your factors in committing to attend and play soccer at UTSA?
I visited quite a few colleges and universities. I also attended several ID camps. There were really two factors which led me to my UTSA commitment. 1) I was just so impressed with the coaching staff. Coach Pittman was professional, but friendly. He was also very candid on what I needed to continue to work on as a player. It was clear academic performance and citizenship were important at UTSA. The assistant coaches and trainers were also great to work with during the
ID camps I attended. 2) I had an opportunity to speak with many of the current players at UTSA. Everyone was so complimentary of the program, especially the positive team culture. UTSA offered everything I was looking for in a soccer and academic program.
What advice would you give kids looking to play Varsity High School soccer?
Don’t skip high school sports! If you like playing club soccer, you’ll love playing high school soccer! There is just such a sense of school pride and local community playing for your high school. My neighbors see our Smithson Valley Soccer sign in our front yard. People stop me in H-E-B to talk about our games when I wear my letter jacket. Customers at my part-time job tell me about when they played for Smithson Valley. I’ve also had some amazing high school coaches who
continue to develop me as a player and as a person.