Student Kristi Truong finds home in UCSC’s soccer program

Pre-med student athlete shares her experience

Kristi Truong (Stevenson ’26, global community health)

Kristi Truong (Stevenson ’26, global community health) has played soccer since she was seven years old. She comes from a family of soccer players; her dad played collegiately and her sisters are also passionate about the sport. For Truong, the decision to continue to play in college felt natural. The bigger question was where she would play.  

Like many high school athletes, Truong felt pressured to attend a university with a D1 soccer team, but after a visit to UC Santa Cruz and meeting some of her potential future teammates, she chose to commit to UCSC, which has a D3 soccer program. 

“They were really sweet, welcoming, and I felt included,” Truong said. “They showed me that I didn't need to listen to what everyone else was saying because ultimately it was my decision to make.” 

Nearing the end of her second year at UCSC, Truong is proud of her decision. In high school, she recognized that her enjoyment in the intense competitive aspect of soccer started to fade, but nonetheless she loved the camaraderie and friendships she gained with her teammates. At UCSC, she has renewed her love for the sport. 

“My team is like my second family, like my siblings, and they're a big reason why I continue to play and why I continue to love the sport.”

Now when prospective soccer students visit UCSC, she gives them the same advice she heard three years ago: decide for yourself. 

“Going division three was probably one of the best choices I ever made because it has allowed me to emphasize both student and athlete,” Truong said. “It's allowed me to focus on my academics and allowed me to play the sport I love with people that I really get along with and that make me happy. It’s also opened up time to have a social life and to have a life outside of just soccer and school. That's something that's special about this school to me, it's changed my life.” 

Truong is part of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee comprised of multiple students from different campus sports teams who work together to improve student athletics and recreation experience. Members undertake projects that benefit student-athletes and the community; act as a student-athlete voice to the athletic administration; and represent UCSC student-athletes.

When she’s not playing soccer, some of Truong’s other favorite hobbies are reading, listening to music, dancing, and playing other sports.

Upon graduating, she hopes to pursue medical school and become an anesthesiologist. 

“I noticed early in my childhood that I like helping people. And later on, as I grew up, I realized that healthcare is a field that needs a lot of help. So I want to contribute to that.”