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Orlando Sentinel

Gateway High Soccer Standout, Monique Avilés Unfazed By Record-Tying Feat

By Frank Carroll | El Sentinel

January 4, 2003
Copyright © 2003 Orlando Sentinel. All rights reserved. 

KISSIMMEE -- Many claim to be No. 1. Monique Avilés is.

The Gateway High School senior now shares the Florida record for career goals after collecting No. 238.

But Avilés, 17, isn't one to boast of such things. "I'm glad, of course, it's a great accomplishment. I'm happy, excited, but it's nothing I focused on. I play to have fun," she said after equaling the mark set by Cindy Schofield of Lakeland's George Jenkins with a first-half goal in a Dec. 13 victory over Colonial.

Avilés' coach, Ettie Singleton, is amazed not only by her protégé's talent, but the poise Avilés has demonstrated during a remarkable four-year varsity career as well.

"She's not into personal gratification," Singleton said. "She is focused, unselfish and so into her teammates. They knew very well when Monique tied the record but, out of respect for her, they didn't say anything to her at that moment."

Avilés was conscious of her accomplishment when it happened, but reacted no differently than she does after every goal.

"I just kept on playing because our focus is on winning as a team, not me," she said. "I'm just happy to win."

After the game, teammates swarmed Avilés to celebrate.

Jacquelyn Avilés regales in her daughter's humble nature.

"I thought 'Wow!' what an accomplishment. I'm so very proud of her, but she doesn't talk about it around the house," she said.

Avilés has an opportunity to take sole possession of the scoring record Monday when Gateway tries to break an 0-for-3 streak against Winter Park.

Avilés is within 38 goals of the national record (286) held by Erin Martin of Temple City, Calif.

With at least 16 matches to play, "it's possible I could get there," she said. "If it happens, it happens. If I don't, it's not going to crush me."

Monique's maternal grandfather, Hiran Avilés, came to America from Ponce, Puerto Rico, as a teenager 40 years ago in search of economic opportunities.

"I have a Hispanic heritage that I'm very proud of," Monique said. "I grew up speaking both languages."

"Monique goes to Puerto Rico every few years to visit," Jacquelyn Avilés said. "Everyone is so proud of her. We only hope that she continues to do what God put her on Earth to do. And that is to play soccer. She's truly blessed with talent."

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