LONG BEACH, Calif. — Long Beach State women’s soccer standout Lena Silano is the Big West Offensive Player of the Week after scoring a brace (two goals) against Cal State Fullerton on Sunday.
Last year, with the 2020 season stripped away due to COVID-19 restrictions, the future of many college athletes was uncertain. Imagine being a junior in college during the pandemic and not knowing whether or not your high-level playing career was over. For those athletes looking to transition to a post-college career, that must have been a horrifying thought. However, after watching Silano run rampant during the current 2021 campaign, it is easy to see that she is unfazed. Silano has channeled that untapped energy from last season and is now using it to score goals with ease.
Long Beach State women’s soccer is 6-4-2 after 12 games and 3-0-1 in the Big West. Much of their success can be attributed to Silano’s prowess in front of the net. While there have been others on the team that have contributed enormously, such as senior Kaylee Ramirez, there is no denying Silano’s leading role and instinctual game-changing ability. Of the 15 goals scored by the team, the No. 4 jersey has been involved in 11 of them. Meaning, with nine goals and two assists, she has helped create 73% of the team’s goals – and she does not show any signs of stopping.
All things considered, this is Silano’s breakout year. However, she has been turning heads since she was younger and was highly regarded before joining Long Beach State. She grew up in Agoura Hills, California, and went on to play for the club team Real So Cal. During her time with the club, she was selected, on two different occasions, for being the Weekly Girls Development Academy Standout. At Agoura High School, she was a three-time letter winner, receiving first team honors during her sophomore and junior years but opted out of playing her senior year after deciding to focus on her club career. Now, at the Division I level, after playing in only six games during her freshman season, coming off the bench to appear in 17 games during her sophomore season and not playing a junior season due to the pandemic, she is finally fulfilling her potential.
As a precursor to the current fall season, Silano played with the Santa Clarita Blue Heat over the summer. The Blue Heat is a second-division women’s professional soccer team that plays in the United Women’s Soccer League (UWS). With some of the country’s most impressive young talent, playing in the UWS would force Silano to move the ball quickly, get shots on target from tight spaces and sharpen all of the arrows in her quiver. Silano made an immediate impact after appearing in five games and scoring against the Connecticut Fusion in the 2021 National Championship match. The Blue Heat was crowned champion for the second time in five years.
In July, Silano appeared on a UWS YouTube series called Our Cup of Tea. The three hosts, Harlie Ford, Katie Goodman and Megan Warner interview different gifted up-and-coming soccer players in the UWS – the segment is called Tea Time With (Lena Silano). To begin the conversation, Goodman asked about the sensations involved with winning the UWS National Championship.
“I didn’t know what to expect; I didn’t know much about the team,” Silano said. “In the first 30 minutes, we kind of got the feel of it, and realized this was going to be a really hard game. We were playing teams and beating them four or five to zero, but we were 30 minutes into the game and it was still 0-0. So once we got that water break we went off and were unstoppable after that. Fusion was a great team, though. It was super fun and I’m super excited to go back to school. I feel like I ended the summer on a high and plan on continuing in growing my potential as a player at Long Beach.”
Silano is certainly harnessing the momentum from her summer and rolling with it this season. Silano and Long Beach State are set to clash with Big West rival UC Irvine (7-4) on Oct. 7 at home. This game is their fifth conference match-up with five left after. It will be an exciting match that will have authority on how the rest of the season plays out for each team. Keep an eye on No. 4 – she will be eager to hit the back of the net for the 10th time this season.
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