July 10, 2001
By John Phillip Wyllie
SAN DIEGO - The road to the WUSA has been a difficult one for the Boston Breakers diminutive left back, Heather Aldama, but midway through the season, Aldama has solidified her job on the left corner of the Breakers defense.
A petite 5-foot-2, Aldama has had a lot more than her lack of size with which to contend. At the start of the season, she found herself torn in two directions.
"It was hard because I was traveling back and forth between Boston and California so I could finish my degree," explained Aldama who starred at Santa Clara. "I wasn't with the team full-time until the end of May, so it was hard to fit in while I was coming and going."
Once she was on board full-time, though, she was quickly thrust into the starting lineup and has been there ever since.
Aldama hopes to finish her degree in the fall and one day become a kindergarten teacher. For now, though, her focus is squarely on the Boston Breakers and helping them to qualify for the upcoming playoffs.
"I'd like to play as long as my body will let me," she said. "So, I hope to be around for a while. Eventually though, I will finish my degree and go into teaching."
While every game is a big game at this point in the season, Aldama, a native of Redlands, Calif., was particularly excited about returning to San Diego.
"The last time I played here, a group of about 20 people came down with my parents," she said. "This time I think it will be a little smaller group, but I'll still have lots of family and friends here."
Aldama credits her parents with much of her success.
"My parents have been awesome," she said. "In Redlands, soccer wasn't that big so, I had to drive an hour to Orange County for practice. My mom and dad have been to almost every one of my games. They are coming out to Boston next week, so I'm excited that I'll get to show them around."
In addition to her parents, Aldama got the chance to reunite with one of her old Santa Clara teammates, Spirit defender Kim Pickup.
"It's always fun to catch up with each other when we are together," she said.
While the game turned out to be a carbon copy of the previous meeting between the two teams, a 3-1 San Diego victory, Aldama had some good touches and displayed her speed and attacking ability. Perhaps the boost from returning German stars Maren Meinert and Bettina Weigmann will help the Breakers will yet be able to turn their season around.
As far as Aldama and her Breaker teammates are concerned, the second half of the WUSA is like a whole new season.
"We are starting all over and we need the points right now if we are going to work our way back into the playoffs," she said.
"And that's our goal."