Moreno keeps her roots
Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune File Photos
Madera South midfielder Cynthia Moreno keeps possession for the Stallions during a 2011 match.
After graduating from Madera South in 2011, Cynthia Moreno hasn’t left the city that has given her the tools for success.
She really never left, although she went to Fresno Pacific University for two years. She came back to Madera to coach soccer at Madera South for three years. After taking a year off, she began work at Madera with head coach Cameron Hill.
“We were pretty excited that we were able to finish the season,” she said.
Moreno just finished her first year as a physical education teacher at Thomas Jefferson Middle School and had a great time.
“It was stressful, at first, because it was a new job and a lot of responsibilities,” she said. “It was actually pretty fun. The kids were great.”
When the schools were shut down, Moreno had to come up with a new way to teach via online learning.
“We met at a team to discuss what we were going to do for online learning.” She said. “Jamie Brown with Madera Unified was a really great resource. She helped us put together a daily log for the students for them to log their exercise every day of the week. After a certain number of weeks, they gave the school sites the green light to do what they wanted. However, at TJ, we decided to see the same and it was working. It just made it easier for us.”
Although MUSD students saw they couldn’t lose their grade nor improve them, Moreno tried to instill to her students to continue their physical activity because it will help them become healthy adults.
“The kids asked me why they still had to do the activities we assigned,” she said. “I told them to do it to stay healthy. For other classes, I can see them being irresponsible. At the end of the day, it’s only for you. Go walk your dog, go for a run, go for a walk. This is going to help your health. It may not help your grade, but it will help your health. I have that to my advantage for my kids. It’s something they need to do anyway. That’s how I dealt with it.”
However, now that she has been relegated to home over the past few months, she said she has become pretty good at remodeling houses.
“We’ve been doing a bunch of remodeling at my house,” she said. “My cousin is remodeling her upstairs so I’m helping with my dad on that. So, what summer? I’m learning a new trade. I’m trying to survive and stay healthy. That’s most important. It’s just a big shock. We go from having a routine to completely stopping everything.”
One of the exciting things for Moreno was watching her younger brother sign a letter of intent to play volleyball at Westcliff University in Irvine.
“He was hesitant, at first,” she said. “He didn’t really want to go to college to play. He was inclined to go to Fresno State. He wasn’t able to finish his senior year. I asked him how he felt about that. He said he wanted to play. I told him he had the opportunity. He went to a tryout with UC Merced and liked it.”
Moreno tried to push her brother to go to college to play volleyball.
“I told him to seek more opportunities,” she said. “He put together a highlight video. Coaches started contacting him and setting things up with him. Even until the end, he was thinking about just going to Fresno State. His whole mentality was he didn’t want to take out a loan. I told him he was investing in his future, in his education. There’s only one way to know if you like it or not. You have to try it. I was encouraging him. I want to get him out of my house. I experienced it, I took it for granted at his age. Coaching now and seeing all of these kids and the potential they had, I wish I could have done more. For me, it’s too late. I was telling him to try it out. If you don’t like it, you can come home. You can at least say you tried it. I hope he goes, learns and matures a little bit. We’re excited because we’ll be able to see him play.”
Moreno tried to convince her brother to work to continue playing the sport he loves. He wants her not to have any regrets and do the thing he loves.
“He is afraid of going to school, playing volleyball and working,” she said. “It told him I went to school full time, worked two jobs and I was still coaching. It is possible. When you love something, you know what it’s like to work hard and go through with it. You learn how to have fun and manage it. I think he’ll be fine.”
Moreno is encouraged because Hill works to get his players recruited. She tries to help give the players advice from her own experience with the recruiting process.
“He has already talked to some of the upcoming seniors,” she said. “One of the girls is already getting a highlight tape made. Every time we have training, I use that to tell the girls this is where it starts. There’s so much potential and talent here. They need to keep striving for more and working hard. That’s why we had a good season this year. We had more chemistry and the girls had a different mindset to really want it and were really motivated. They were fighting for something more.”
Moreno reflects on her career at Madera South. She overcame an anterior cruciate ligament injury to have a good career.
“I tell my mom that if I wouldn’t have torn my ACL, I could have done more.” She said. “I reflect on my high school career a lot. Coaching now, I see these girls and tell them to push through it. You’re going to be fine. Just tape it up. That was always me. I would play with tape just so I could be on the field. I miss it a lot. However, I think with the short experience I had playing in college and coaching, I found what I was meant to do. I enjoy it so much.”
However, now that she is back in Madera helping Madera kids succeed, she wants what’s best for her students and players.
“That’s what I said in my interview when I went for the job about how I’m a Madera kid coming back home,” she said. “All my experience in Madera with the people who coached me. Gene West (Madera South girls soccer coach) had a big impact on that with my competitiveness and the will to win. I want to be a role model for kids. I know not a lot of girls in soccer have female coaches. That’s what drove me to that. I want to be what someone wasn’t for me.”