Born in Hawaii, raised in Texas and a force on the pitch, Cibolo Steele Student Athlete Kalea Ajel is a formidable midfielder. Family is an important part as Dad was in the Navy, retiring as a Chief and you can see the core values on honor, courage and commitment in Kalea when she steps on the pitch, two of her sisters have also played soccer at Cibolo Steele. Kalea Ajel attends was a big part of Steele’s success during the 2020-2021 season. Ajel led the team in Goals with 29 and Assists with 15. She was named 2021 Midfielder of the Year in District 27-6A and received All State Honorable Mention for Region 4-6A.
Get to know: Kalea Ajel
How old where you when you started playing soccer and what was the first team or club you played for?
I was 8 years old when I started playing soccer, and the first team I played for was a rec team on base at JBSA-FSH. We were the Sharks, and I played striker. Of course, I was the tiniest one on the field, but played with the biggest heart.
Who is your mentor or biggest influence when it comes to playing soccer?
Jordan Betterton has been my biggest influence when it comes to playing soccer. For the time that I’ve known him, he’s helped me develop my skill, confidence, and love for the game. He pushes me to work harder every day and supports me in every way possible.
Who is your favorite player and why?
My favorite player is Christen Press. I love everything about the way she plays. I also love how she’s not afraid to take a break from something she loves to focus on her mental health. I think mental
health is extremely important and should be focused on more, especially with athletes.
Who is your favorite team?
My favorite team would be the old Barcelona. I love the way they move the ball around the field playing tiki taka. I’m inspired by the way they would score team oriented goals and how skillful they are as well.
Besides playing your primary position; is there any other position you play?
Besides playing on the wing/forward positions, I’ve also played as an attacking/defensive mid, as well as outside back. I’ve mostly played attacking mid through my club years, but started playing more of an outside mid/forward for high school.
What has been some of the keys to you and Steele Girls soccer team success this season?
I think our speed is a big one. We’re a high pressing team and will do what we can to stay in our attacking third. This team is a family and the closest I’ve ever been with a group, so I think that plays a big role in our success.
What are your plans after high school? Are you planning to play in college or go pro?
My plans for after high school is to continue to play soccer in college and study psychology. I haven’t decided where I’m going yet, but when I do, I know I’ll do my best to help build the program as well as continue to work hard in everything I do.
Have you played at club or academy level? If so, what was your experience like playing for a club?
In club, I played in the frontier league with my previous team at Lions FC and currently play at the GA level with SA City. I’ve had great experiences playing club. Club is a great source for developing your skills and improving soccer IQ. It’s a very competitive environment that’s also so much fun.
What advice would you give kids and underclassman looking to play Varsity High School soccer?
My advice would be to train yourself to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Once you push yourself to do your best all the time, the rest will come. Giving up can not be an option. You have to have failure to have success. Don’t be afraid to fail. Trust the process.
What is your pregame ritual? Do you have a favorite song, meal or other thing you do prior to a game?
The day before a game I have to take an ice bath. It’s just something I started doing this year that I think has helped improve my play. I also have started doing a little tik tok dance every game day because I think it gives me good luck. This last one may seem very odd, but before a game I eat a spoonful of mustard.
What are some important lessons and advice you have learned from your High School Soccer coach?
Coach Lock has taught me many many lessons that both have to do with soccer and just life in general. She’s done a great job rebuilding our program and what it means to be a part of it. When a play is bad, she’s taught me how to quickly get over it and focus on the next one. She has also helped me a lot with suggesting ways to cope with personal problems I encounter.