Seaira Moore, senior goalkeeper for the Malibu High School girls soccer team, wasn’t at all interested in sports when she was younger.
But, her mother, Dina, insisted she play because of a family rule to do so.
That led to Seaira join the American Youth Soccer Organization, where she was reluctantly placed as a goalkeeper.
“I didn’t like being goalkeeper at all,” Seaira said. “I actually cried a lot when I was younger because it was a lot of pressure.”
But, after a few years, Seaira began to love soccer and trained harder. Her improvement led to an academic and athletic scholarship offer from Biola University, which she gladly accepted.
Soccer scholarships seem rare. Only one in every 40 female student-athletes gets offered a soccer scholarship from an NCAA or NAIA university, according to data from scholarshipstats.com.
Seaira’s journey started when she was 9, playing for the AYSO. From there, she played club soccer for the Real SoCal team, and eventually joined the team at Malibu High School.
However, Seaira almost left the team after her sophomore year, citing “tension” and “chaos” with the team. But with the arrival of coach Jack Craig, Seaira decided to keep playing.
“I’m just so blessed that he came to our school,” Seaira said of her coach.
Craig, who was also a goalkeeper, said he and Seaira have grown close during the two years he has coached at the high school.
“We have a great player-coach relationship that is built on mutual respect,” Craig said. “I have great admiration and respect for her as a person [and] a young athlete.”
Craig, along with Dina and Seaira’s father, Mike, assisted in the university-selection process, which included five or six schools, Seaira said. Other than Biola, the Naval Academy also attempted to recruit her.
Seaira, 17, comes from a military family. Her father was a Marine, and her grandfather on her mother’s side was in the Coast Guard.
However, Seaira decided she did not want to go down the military road.
“That’s something my dad always wanted me to do, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go down that path,” Seaira said. “I just felt like it wasn’t something that I was meant to do.”
Craig, also a former Marine, suggested Seaira’s decision not to join the Naval Academy was more about location than legacy. The academy is located in Maryland, whereas Biola is only one-and-a-half hours away from where Seaira currently lives.
“Seaira made the decision that she wanted to be closer to home,” Craig said.
The other schools on Seaira’s radar were ruled out by Internet research, Dina said.
“She would find the soccer players on Facebook and look at the kind of lifestyle they had there at the college and she could tell whether she wanted to do the visit or not,” Dina said.
But she liked Biola. Seaira went on two recruiting visits to the university where she met with the coaches and trained with some of the current players on the roster.
“When I was there, I knew that was the school that I was going to go to,” Seaira said. “So when I got the letter, I was overjoyed.”
Seaira said playing soccer and being a captain of her high school team will help her moving forward.
“It helped me shape my personality,” Seaira said. “I used to be really shy when I was younger — I’m still really quiet. But it’s taught me to be confident with who I am, but also be humble. I think that will help me a lot in the future.”
Dina said soccer has helped Seaira “come out of her shell.”
“What I like to see is that she’s getting more comfortable with who she is, and she’s not looking at other girls to determine what is trendy or what is right or how [she should] be,” Dina said. “It’s just more she’s confident in her own skin.”
When Seaira isn’t playing soccer, she likes to run on the beach. She also took up guitar this past summer, and is learning to play songs by her favorite country artist, Taylor Swift.
Seaira said the most difficult part of going to college will be being away from her two brothers, Logan, 15, and Liam, 11. But she is looking forward to the new experience.
“Living in Malibu, you kind of get used to doing the same routine thing every day,” Seaira said. “So I think it’s going to be a nice way to start out fresh.”