BY DAVID RUSSELL
Forest Hills High School student Maia Cabrera became the first female athlete in the school’s history to get a full sports scholarship to a Division I school after signing her letter of intent to play soccer at St. John’s.
“It’s an exhilarating feeling,” said Cabrera, who signed the letter in the gym at Forest Hills High School on Monday. “I can’t even explain it. All of my hard work has finally come to this. I’ve worked so hard for it. It’s basically my dream to go to a DI school, play soccer, play the sport that I love. I put everything into the sport.”
Cabrera played several sports in high school, although soccer has been her top priority. Athletics have been important to her family as her brother Noah was a second baseman on the Cardozo High School baseball team that won the PSAL title in 2014. He now plays at Towson University.
“Any popularity I might not have had when I was younger, [I’ve] become a celebrity in the neighborhood,” said Cabrera’s mother, Orly.
Maia long played on teams with her brother and her mother would ask Noah’s coach to put her on the field, even if she didn’t play. The coach then realized that he had a secret weapon. Maia continued to excel over the years, leading to her playing on the Israeli U19 team.
Now, Cabrera will stay in Queens, playing for Ian Stone and the Red Storm.
“I think it’s kind of cool that I’m going to my local school in Queens,” Cabrera said. “Everyone’s been telling me I can’t get a better offer from any other school than I’ve gotten from St. John’s. Ian is just a great coach. Going there, knowing I have a coach that’s going to care about me and is going to want me to do the best I can in everything I do is the best coach I can ask for.”
Cabrera has also been a standout at other sports, including basketball, but without focusing as much energy to them as she did to soccer.
“It’s unbelievable,” her mother joked. “It’s just weird. That’s why I say she might’ve been switched at birth because I’m not sure she’s mine. I think there’s a mom out there that’s looking for her daughter.”
Cabrera scored 15 goals in eight matches for Forest Hills last season.
“Maia is an incredible athlete with a nice personality, total class,” said soccer coach Robert Sprance.
Orly Cabrera touted her daughter’s abilities on and off the field.
“Anybody can be good at sports, anybody can be a good student, but to be a good kid is a big deal,” her mother said.