Athlete Spotlight: Elena Santos

Senior forward Elena Santos attacks a Tulsa defender on Senior Day (Eric Wang/The Daily Campus)

Elena Santos just finished her senior season for the UConn women’s soccer team, ending her career with five goals and five assists through 35 games and two seasons as a Husky. Recently, she took some time to talk to me about her life and career.

Jorge Eckardt: What’s your major and why did you choose it?

Elena Santos: My major is communications. I chose that because I eventually want to do event planning and I feel like having communications really helps with that because eventually I want to have my own business, so that’s why I chose communications.

JE: What is your favorite class that you have taken at UConn?

ES: I would say it was my public speaking class that I took with Heidi who’s also on the team, and I really liked that because it’s very hands-on, and it wasn’t like, go to class, sit down, go through PowerPoints. Our whole final was a huge project, so that’s what we worked [on] through the whole semester, and it was really fun, because we were always doing stuff, we were always engaged, so that’s why it was one of my favorite classes.

JE: What led you to make the decision to transfer here from Fairfield?

ES: I wanted to come here because I wanted to stay close to home, and I’m originally from West Hartford. And this was the biggest Division I soccer school that was still in Connecticut, so I chose to come here. I love big schools, and UConn’s known for having a big sports program. We have a lot of fans, and I really like the atmosphere, so that’s why I chose to come here.

JE: What is your favorite UConn soccer memory?

ES: My favorite memory was this year when we played, I think it was UCF, and we were down 4-0, and it was the first time that I have scored two goals being here, and it was a really great game, because we were down 4-0, we came back second half, were at 4-2, and then had the potential to tie it up and even win the game, and I think that showed our team dynamic and atmosphere that we have and that we’re a very hard-working team.

JE: Do you have any pre-game rituals?

ES: Before every game when I’m putting on my socks and shoes, I always put everything on the left first, and then I put everything on my right second, and I’ve been doing that since I was little.

JE: If you could play any other sport what would it be?

ES: I think I would run track, because I really like to run, and I actually did track in high school and I really enjoyed it, and I liked being a part of that. I loved watching all the other races, so I think that if I didn’t play soccer I probably would have ran track.

JE: Who is your favorite professional athlete?

ES: My favorite professional athlete is Abby Wambach. She’s always been my favorite. She’s always been like an inspiration to me growing up; she’s always been a hard worker, and I feel like we kind of connect on the same level, because when she was younger, I remember I watching one of her videos and she would go to McDonald’s and didn’t care about what she ate, and when she became the professional level it really turned around and it was kind of like me going to college. I was like, “Wow, I actually need to pay attention to what I eat, stay on top of that.” So, that’s why she’s always been an inspiration to me.

JE: What is your favorite place around campus to eat?

ES: I love Blaze. I like Blaze because you get to make your own pizza. It’s like the perfect size, where you can eat enough, or you can take it home with you, but sometimes if you’re really hungry you can eat the whole thing and still be fine. I always go in there and I always change my different toppings and stuff, so I really like that you get to choose different things.

JE: What about Dairy Bar flavor?

ES: I’m not a big ice cream person, but I would say cookie dough. I love cookie dough.

JE: Who is your favorite artist?

ES: My favorite musical artist is Chris Brown. He’s always been my favorite growing up. Actually, one of his songs is “Questions” and it’s literally my favorite song. The whole team knows it, so he’s always been my favorite artist.

JE: What about movie and TV show?

ES: Favorite movie I think I would have to say “Remember the Titans”, that’s always a classic. I just love the story behind it, and every time I watch it I find myself crying no matter what, no matter if I watch it 100 times, and I just think it’s a great movie. Favorite TV show, I would have to say, I really like “The 100,” I’ve always liked things like that, and it was just really cool to see how that could potentially happen to us in the future, where the world could just come to an end, and we’d have to go up into space, and everything would go wrong in space and have to come back down, so that’s a really good show that I recommend.

JE: If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?

ES: I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii. I’ve been everywhere in the world pretty much because my mom was in the Peace Corps. We traveled a lot, so the one place we haven’t really gone to is Hawaii, and I just love being on the beach, I love the ocean, and Hawaii is just a very happy and great place.

JE: Do you prefer Coke or Pepsi?

ES: Coke. Definitely Coke, and I feel like when you go overseas it’s definitely a different taste, and I just love putting lemon in it and stuff, so definitely Coke.

JE: Who do you model your game after?

ES: I really look up to my dad I guess I would say, because he played soccer when he was younger; not professionally, but he was a really good soccer player when he played. He’s always pushed me when I was younger. I really didn’t like soccer when I first started playing it, but he always pushed me and I’m really happy he did because then I wouldn’t be here today.


Jorge Eckardt is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at jorge.eckardt@uconn.edu.