Leading scorer and senior forward for the Taylor University women’s soccer team, senior Chloe Sena, is reflecting on the history that has led to her joy-filled final season with the Trojans.
Sena has been playing soccer since she was about six years old. She said soccer has always been the sport for her.
“You get your competitive fix through it,” she said. “There’s a goal. You have all the different lines of play, so defense, midfield and forward, and it all just works together. I think it’s a very creative sport.”
Freshman year wasn’t the first time Sena got a chance to play at Taylor. Scott Stan, head coach of Trojan women’s soccer, said that Sena’s father emailed him asking if his eighth-grade daughter could attend their soccer camp.
Stan told Sena’s father that she was more than welcome as long as she was prepared to play against college athletes.
Sena showed up on the first day of camp ready to compete and has only grown as a player since then.
“She has grown in confidence, strength and ability. Every year has gotten better,” Stan said.
Sena said Stan has truly helped her become a well-rounded player. Since freshman year, Sena has played multiple different positions which have expanded her abilities.
By being in positions outside of her comfort zone, Sena saw how much faith Stan had in her, which taught her to have more faith in herself and her abilities.
Stan isn’t the only coach who has had a lasting impact on Sena’s life.
While Sena was in high school, she competed on a club soccer team called Elite SC under coach Stein Garcia.
Sena said Garcia has been a constant support system, even through her college years.
“He invested in me as a player and a person a ton,” she said. “(He) has also kept in touch and encouraged me in a lot of ways, whether that’s a phone call just checking in or (sending me) hype-up texts.”
She shared that Garcia still has a massive impact on her life. This isn’t hard to see by the way her face lights up when talking about all the encouraging messages about her goals and awesome plays she receives from Garcia.
Sena’s main focus this season isn’t how many goals she scores or where the team ranks, but instead focusing on giving glory to God in all that she does.
“My mom used to quote a Francesca Battistelli song that (goes) ‘I don’t need my name in lights, I’m famous in my father’s eyes,’” Sena said.
She said these lyrics serve as a great reminder that she isn’t playing for anyone else or even herself. Soccer is a gift that God has given her and she plans to use it to glorify him.
The soccer team has a tradition they do before every season. They take a big cloth or bed sheet and each player chooses one word or attribute of God to focus on for the season. They write their choice on the sheet, cut it out and keep it as a reminder throughout the season.
“My main goal this season (is) to really try to leave all of the other stuff (behind) and have joy,” Sena said. “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”
Sena chose the phrase “pure joy” as her focus for the season. She keeps her piece of cloth tied to her water bottle as a daily reminder.
Sena keeps another reminder of God’s faithfulness with her every day: a hummingbird tattoo on her wrist . It symbolizes Matthew 11:29, which serves as a reminder that she can find rest in God no matter what.
Stan said he has seen Sena mature into the wise person and powerful player she is today.
“She’s confident in her soccer abilities but also in who she is as a person,” he said. “When you’re confident in both you can be genuine and transparent and just live honestly.”
Stan isn’t the only person who has seen this change in Sena. Senior midfielder Caroline Monberg has been on this journey with Sena since before freshman year.
When Monberg and Sena found out they were both going to play soccer at Taylor, they reached out to each other via social media. They decided to become pen pals and started writing each other letters before their freshman year.
“As a player, Chloe is tenacious, aggressive, powerful, determined and unrelenting,” Monberg said. “As a person, she is incredibly thoughtful and has really good insight and a good perspective on a lot of things …. She helps me pull (away) from what I’m looking at and see it from a different perspective.”
Monberg also said that Sena is a very balanced person. She describes her teammate as an understanding and gracious person with a firm foundation in her beliefs.
Sena and Monberg have a lot in common; not only are they both seniors, but they also major in human physiology and attend the same church together on Sundays.
Monberg said that this fall has been her favorite season of friendship with Sena.
“I feel like I’ve seen a lot of the fruit of me and Chloe’s friendship bud this semester more than any of the others,” Monberg said. “I think it’s because we’re both sharing a very similar season of life right now.”
Stan discussed the advice he has for Sena after graduation, and that she will make an impact on many people no matter what she does.
“A verse that I really like is Psalm 46:10, ‘Be still, and know that I am God,’” Stan said. “I don’t think God shouts very loud. I think you just have to relax and let him speak to you. I would encourage (Sena) to make time for (God)... set that time aside and listen for the calling of God in your life.”
After graduation, Sena is looking to extend her “pure joy” by continuing a career in human physiology and possibly exploring a career in the education field.