SoccerWire is publishing Q&A articles with recently-committed players who have profiles in the SoccerWire Player Directory. The series will allow players to share their stories on the college recruiting process, travel and high school soccer, and their passion for the beautiful game.

In this edition we will showcase Maliya Maldonado, who has committed to play NCAA Division I soccer in 2025 at South Florida. Maldonado plays travel soccer in the ECNL for Florida Premier FC, and has been called up to the Puerto Rico Women’s U-17 National Team.


SoccerWire: What made you decide to verbally commit to South Florida?

Maliya Maldonado: I was blessed to have many schools interested throughout the country and in the state of Florida. USF has been a successful soccer program and has a well-recognized health medical school which is what I would like to study. The coaches made me feel like family and explained how they could continue to help me grow as a player and how I can help the program with the style of play (Possession)Go Bulls?⚽?

SW: What was the recruiting process like and what did you learn about yourself while going through it?

MM: My Club Coach Leo and I have been in communication prior to June 15. I had an idea of some of the schools that were interested but I was nervous not knowing what to expect during the calls. I will say each call I felt more and more comfortable. Many of the college coaches were very nice to talk to and helpful in the process.

SW: What was your favorite moment at this year’s World Cup?

MM: My favorite moment was watching all the small countries being successful and watching the women’s game continue to grow worldwide. I recently got invited to play in the CONCACAF qualifiers for the U17 Puerto Rico National team in which we qualified and will play in the championship in February 2024 to have a chance to play in World Cup.

SW: What are your favorite subjects in school and what do you think you would like to study in college?

MM: My favorite subjects in school are Science and Biology. I would like to study in the medical field while in college.

SW: Outside of soccer, what clubs, organizations, and/or jobs are you involved in?

MM:Outside of soccer, I enjoy spending time with family and friends and enjoy volunteering at my church.

SW: What has your experience been like playing for Florida Premier FC

MM:Florida Premier FC has been such a great experience. They are so dedicated to the the players and the game! I have always felt like family and the support has always been there. The clubs motto is “One Club, One Family” and it shows everyday. I believe this is the best club in the country!

SW: How has social media and being a SoccerWire Featured Player helped you with the college recruiting process?

MM: I believe social media(Instagram and YouTube) and especially Soccerwire have been a huge part of recruiting process with just promoting and giving people who normally would not know who you are the ability to access your highlights and provide access to a much larger audience. Many of the colleges now use this platform.

SW: If you could give one piece of advice to a younger player that wants to play soccer at a high level what would it be?

MM:I would say to just love what you do and work hard. I have always had a strong support system with my family and coaches that have always asked more of me and knew that I could do more!

SW: Is there anyone that you would like to give a shoutout to who has helped you both on and off of the field?

MM: I would like to say thank you so much to my Mom & Dad for always believing in me and supporting me. Also, Coach Leo Martíni who has been my coach for the last 4 years and since day one knew the potential I had and demanded nothing more then 110%. Thank you Coach for everything ?