In Latin, the female name Aurea means golden. It’s turned out to be an appropriate name for Christopher High junior striker Aurea Martin, whose dazzling game has helped the girls soccer team to the top of the Monterey Bay League’s Gabilan Division. The Cougars entered Friday’s match against Notre Dame-Salinas at 7-4-1 overall and in 5-1-0 in division play.
Martin, who was last year’s MBL Gabilan Offensive Most Valuable Player, has done nothing but impress yet again.
“Aurea is a very special player,” Christopher coach Matt Oetinger said. “Her skill set and skill level is so high, and in the sport of soccer those things are difficult to learn at a later date. It’s got to be something you’re brought up with if you want to reach a high level. It helps to be gifted, which she is. Quite frankly, she couldn’t be a sweeter girl, so you’re getting everything in one basket.”
Martin scored five of the team’s first six goals in league play, including a hat trick against San Benito on Jan. 10. Martin credited her teammates for setting her up perfectly on two of the three goals.
“What really helped is everyone was making great runs and great touches on the ball,” she said. “It wasn’t just me finishing, but it was all the work that led up to it. My last goal was definitely an individual (effort), but the first two goals the team connected on a bunch of passes beforehand.”
On Martin’s final tally against the Haybalers, she used her speed to blow by the defense. However, Martin’s greatest strength lies in her ability to maneuver where space is limited.
“I have the ability to get out of smaller spaces,” she said.
Martin inherited some great soccer genes. Her dad, Tim, played professionally for 12 years including two stints with the U.S. national team, and her mom, Darlene Del Carmen, was a standout player at the University of Virginia. Del Carmen happens to be a Christopher High assistant coach, meaning Aurea and Darlene get plenty of quality mom-daughter time together.
“It’s super fun to play with her as an assistant coach,” Aurea said. “It is an interesting dynamic, but we’re really close. That makes it a great experience.”
During the club season, Aurea plays for Mountain View-Los Altos (MVLA), which is one of the premier traveling squads in the state. Martin is a distributing midfielder for MVLA, so the chance to play striker for Christopher is a nice changeup.
“For high school, I get to work on my shooting, which is one of my weaker points,” she said.
Martin grew up playing travel ball around Gilroy and Morgan Hill; however, it was apparent from an early age she needed to play for a team like MVLA.
“My proudest accomplishment is growing from where I was when I was one of the better players in Morgan Hill and Gilroy to not necessarily being the best player on MVLA,” she said. “Learning to challenge myself is one of the biggest factors that have helped me to be where I am today.”
Martin’s younger brother, Enzo, is an eighth grader at Brownell and has already shown plenty of soccer acumen. The two practice against each other when they get the chance, with Aurea able to have the upper hand because of the age difference. However, Aurea knows the days of getting the better of her brother are numbered.
“Once he really starts growing, it’s going to be tough to outplay him,” she said. “But right now I can still bump him off the ball.”
Even though Martin loves soccer, she has plenty of ambition and drive outside of the sport thanks in part to Darlene, who instilled in her daughter to be excellent in every aspect of her life, not just soccer.
“My mom was a great soccer player, but she’s also very artistic and inspired me to look beyond soccer,” Aurea said. “She wanted me to look at other things in life.”
And that’s exactly what Martin has done, producing a 3.83 GPA while taking four Advanced Placement classes this year. Martin can see herself working in the biochemistry field in a future that seems to have no ceiling, soccer or otherwise.