Sports Sports Feature

Female rookie of the year: Shai Del Campo shines for Lady Booters in historical title defense

The UAAP Women’s Football season concluded with a dashing 2-0 finals victory in favor of the De La Salle Lady Booters. It was a victory that every Lasallian football enthusiast or die hard fan can be proud of as the team accomplished its historical three-peat to cap off the victorious run.

As the sea of green and white continued to cheer for its team, one determined rookie stood out on the field. Her impeccable work rate and precise vision drove her past enemy lines to chip the ball that might have solidified the Lasallian dynasty. The LaSallian’s pick for Rookie of the Year, Alisha “Shai” Del Campo, tends to display a masterful performance every time she is on the field.

From the get-go

Everyone has a beginning, no one is an exception to that rule. A player will go through different programs and build it up from there. Shai started her football career when she brought her brother to one of his trainings. “He was the only one supposed to be playing, not me. I just went there to see him play. And then I saw girls, and I was like ‘Oh I wanted to try’. Then I continued playing and he did not.”

She was then scouted by coach Hans-Peter Smit to play for De La Salle Santiago Zobel School. She was reluctant at first, but with her head held up high, she eventually agreed to be under his tutelage and the rest is history.

Fast forward to this day, her herculean effort did not go unnoticed. People enjoy her style of play because she moves around the field with efficiency and grace. It is not hard to remember her as she racks up the most goals by a large margin—and on top of that, she accomplished a whopping nine goals in just eight games. But even with all these accolades and praises, the Lady Booter remains to be humble at all costs. “I don’t notice it, but it is great that there are some people that acknowledge me. It just feels good.”

The grind is real

In hindsight, people can say that their title run is a walk in the park. But for Shai, the grind will always remain to be an uphill battle. As a student athlete, the battle continues even outside the field. Academic responsibilities stack up and national call-ups are imminent, but her determination never wavers.

As a rookie playing under the Green-and-White, she still feels that self-doubt is a roadblock for her. “Of course it [is] not easy since [I’m] a rookie. So I think it’s mostly on [what] your teammates and coaches expect from you.” Even with insecurities looming by her side, her coaches and teammates will always have high praise.

What keeps the wonderkid driven are her seniors, the prized three-peat, and starting the season right. And with that in mind, she lives by the words to “want it more”. At the end of the day, she believes that success all boils down to who wants it more.

Maintaining the glory

This may be her first UAAP season, but do not get fooled by time. Scoring almost one goal per game and having a high football IQ, she can pass off as an accomplished veteran with a scoring touch. This is highly attributed to how her team guides her time and again. “My seniors always [tell] me that UAAP is very different from all the other games. They say that every game will count, so give [it] your all.”

Moving forward, the team will continue to extend its efforts for another championship run. When asked about the future, she simply explains, “It is gonna be different every year. The seniors will be leaving so a new set of players [will] be coming. It is going to be a whole new team every season. So I think it is all about the preparation for the upcoming season.”

Without a doubt, the team has a bright future with Shai by their side. Her preparation and mindset will propel the team to greater heights in the years to come.

Rob Matibag

By Rob Matibag

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