Severna Park senior forward Eleni Puzas isn’t a one-person show. Nor does she want to be, nor does anyone expect her to be.
Instead, Puzas thrives in collaboration, utilizing her skills where they’re helpful and including others to accentuate their strengths as well. That applies both on and off the soccer field.
On the pitch, Puzas has embraced her role as a target forward — a striker who is the object of long passes and plays with her back to the goal, her role one of possessor and distributor more than scorer of a glut of goals.
“The coaches have put me in a position to exploit the things that I do well on the field,” Puzas said. “I just want to contribute any way I can, whether cheering on the sidelines or communicating on the field. I just try my best because that’s the only thing you can control.”
That has led to a handful of goals and even more assists for the Falcons, who cruised to an undefeated regular season.
“She works really hard in practice and the game, and you see it in the way she plays,” said Severna Park coach Rick Stimpson. “She thinks her way through the game as well; she’s not someone who just runs around on the field.”
Off the field, Puzas is a respected student with a 4.4 GPA, an ambassador in student government, and a volunteer with multiple organizations, including the Maryland Food Bank.
“We value both character and ability in this team, and thankfully she has an abundance of both,” Stimpson said.
It’s a lot of work, especially in season, but for someone who prides herself on her compartmentalization skills, the chaos almost makes her thrive even more.
Puzas’ collaborative mindset has also helped, to be sure. She doesn’t view this period of life as something to be experienced in isolation, which she attributes to a life in sports. That attitude is one she hopes to carry forward into college, as she plans to play club soccer and study biomedical engineering.
“I don’t think school is an individual thing,” she said. “Going at it from a collaborative standpoint, always looking to help others, and not hesitating to ask for help yourself is really important. I try to look at everything as a team job. When there’s more minds at it, it’s easier.”
The Voice’s Student-Athlete of the Month is proudly sponsored by Matt Wyble of Next Step Realty. Contact Zach Sparks at firstname.lastname@example.org to nominate a local student making a positive impact through sports.