Airman shoots for the goal

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jaeda Tookes
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
For Airman 1st Class Jessica Ortiz-Villa, 741st Missile Security Forces Squadron tactical response force member, shooting for the goal is more than just a figure of speech.

Ortiz-Villa has been playing soccer for most of her life, and will be given a chance to continue that passion during her military service by trying out for the prestigious Armed Forces Soccer Team.

"Before I was invited to try out for the Armed Forces Soccer Team people would tell me how hard it was," Ortiz-Villa said.

Ortiz-Villa was invited to Florida for a two-week soccer camp to try out for the team May 9-20. If she makes the team, Ortiz-Villa will play in a month-long tournament in France.

The team is comprised of women from all branches of military services.

"Thirty-five women from different military branches and skill levels are trying out for a spot on the team," Ortiz-Villa said.

Ortiz-Villa will find out if she made the team May 23.

Born in Mexico and raised in California, Ortiz-Villa started playing soccer when she was 8 years old.

"My dad loved soccer, and I wanted to follow in his footsteps," Ortiz-Villa said. "He would always tell me to just have fun with it."

Her childhood love for soccer would follow her into her adult life.

Ortiz-Villa attended Iowa Central College on a full-ride scholarship to play soccer. While attending, she played for two semi-professional teams.

"We made it to the finals but lost," Ortiz-Villa said. "I think we were too confident about winning."

Before joining the military, Ortiz-Villa tried out for the New York Flash, a national women's league team.  Although she was accepted to the team, she would not get the chance to play due to mishaps with the team.

According to Ortiz-Villa, she never thought she would get the opportunity to play professionally again after the letdown from the New York soccer team.

However, she would get a second chance at achieving her dreams in the Air Force by being selected to try out for the Armed Forces team.

"When I saw the email I could not believe I was accepted," said Ortiz-Villa. "I was on a temporary-duty assignment for about a month, so I was unable to check my email as much as I would have liked."

According to Ortiz-Villa, her parents were happy for her, because they knew how much she loved soccer.

Ortiz-Villa trains by running about 6 miles every day, and eating carbohydrates for energy. 

"I eat really healthy and do not like junk food," Ortiz-Villa said. "If it is not good for me, I will not eat it."

In the future, Ortiz-Villa wants to get a degree in physical therapy or coaching to continue to be involved in sports.

"If tomorrow I received an offer to be on the Women's National Team, I would do it in a heartbeat," Ortiz-Villa said. "Soccer means everything to me. Even if it's temporary, I will enjoy it."