Danielle Bergstrom is the avatar for the modern athlete in this post- pandemic world. The La Reina High soccer star missed her sophomore year with an injury. She sat out her junior year due to COVID-19 concerns.
This winter, Bergstrom is back on the pitch for the first time since her freshman campaign. “I missed it,” the senior said. “It’s kind of weird going to the same places thinking, ‘Wow, it was just yesterday I was here,’ when it was years ago. Sometimes I have this deep nostalgia. I wish I had done all four years.”
If there’s a silver lining for Bergstrom, it’s that she’s playing with her younger sister. Brianna Bergstrom, a freshman midfielder, lines up just in front of and sometimes right alongside Danielle.
“It’s great,” said Danielle Bergstrom, a captain who plays at center midfielder and center back. “We never got to play together before. I’ve always known she’s good, but seeing how strong she is on the field, with her dribbling, communication and passing especially, it’s a little surprising. It makes me proud to be with such a great player all the time.”
The sisterhood on La Reina’s team runs deep. During the first week back from winter break, the Regents ran a 3-mile loop to the cross at the top of a hill at the north end of Cal Lutheran’s campus.
“The run was extremely difficult,” said Charlotte Wilfert, a sophomore goalkeeper. “When we got to the top, we were all cheering for each other. We all have different skill levels, but that run showed that we’re all in this together.” Danielle Bergstrom recounted that grueling run to the cross.
“My sister afterward told me something very touching. I was in the front of the line. My sister was saying so many times that she wanted to give up and it was so hard, but she saw me. She said, ‘Seeing you, and knowing it’s almost over, helped me get through it.’ It’s that idea that we inspire each other. We lift each other. We are that support.”
The Regents will continue to lean on each other in their quest for a Tri-Valley League title. Wilfert anchors La Reina’s stout defense. Wilfert, who decided to sit out her freshman season due to COVID concerns, has found her niche with this squad.
“It’s been great getting to know all the girls on the team. It’s a really close team,” said Wilfert, a 4.4 GPA scholar athlete. “On bus rides we’ll talk to each other. It’s a different experience (than club). We’re all playing for our school. I love that aspect.”
Wilfert notched earned shutout wins against de Toledo (2-0 on Dec. 7) and Villanova Prep (1-0 on Jan. 11). The sophomore, who plays for the LAFC club in the offseason, is on La Reina’s mock trial team. Bergstrom, a 4.0 GPA honors student, said she wants to play soccer in college. She earned all league honors after her freshman year, and she’s cobbling together highlight reels for scouts. “I will do whatever I can . . . to make sure I have some opportunity,” she said. “Soccer’s been too much a part of me to not (play).”
The Bergstrom sisters enjoy hiking and running with their pet husky, Alli. Danielle Bergstrom enjoys reading, writing, sketching and photography. Jacqueline Emanuel, a senior midfielder, is playing soccer and basketball at the same time this winter. The multisport standout also competes in lacrosse and has raced in cross country. Katherine Avila is the only other senior on the roster.
Luca Caravana is a forward to watch. The sophomore has two goals so far this season. Amanda Baucher and Jane Staley fortify the defense. Lucy Shah, Natalia Estrada, Jillian Estrada, Melia Nordquiest, Isadora Dickman, Ella Coleman, Breanna Diaz, Kila Samples and Sloan Yanicelli contribute for La Reina.
Evan Greenwood, the second-year head coach, directs the squad with help from his father, Clint Greenwood, an assistant coach. “The kids are amazing,” Evan Greenwood said. “They have great work ethic. They’re at every practice. They’re at every game. They’re always asking can we do more practices. This team is great. “They’re wonderful to be around. They’re energetic. They’re happy to play as many games as we can get.” La Reina is an underdog in its league, but the Regents play with the spirit of champions. “We’re a small community,” Danielle Bergstrom said, “but we’re still going strong.”
IN A NUTSHELL: La Reina High’s soccer team is 2-4-1 overall, 1-3 in the Tri-Valley League. • Danielle Bergstrom, Jacqueline Emanuel and Katherine Avila are the only seniors on the Regents’ roster. • Charlotte Wilfert, a sophomore goalkeeper, leads the defense with back-row players Amanda Baucher, Jane Staley, and sisters Danielle and Brianna Bergstrom. • Evan Greenwood is the second-year head coach. • Emanuel is playing soccer and basketball at the same time for La Reina. The midfielder has also competed in lacrosse and cross country for the school. IN A NUTSHELL By Eliav Appelbaum email@example.com Photo credit Michael Coons/Acorn Newspapers.