A: I was adopted at age 5 by my great aunt and uncle. When I was adopted, I moved from Hawaii to Mukilteo. I have lived ever since in Mukilteo.
Q: Do you have memories of those early years after you were removed from your biological mother’s home?
A: They still let me see my mom. I remember being in a government building to visit her for an hour or two, and then I’d go back to a foster family. It was confusing.
Q: How long were you in foster care?
A: I lived with several families from about age 3 to 5. I’d get attached to these people. My mom went into rehab when I was adopted. She’s doing well now. She is coming to my graduation. I love her — she’s my mom. But the people who molded me into who I am now are my parents who adopted me.
Q: Do you have brothers or sisters?
A: I have a sister, Liana. She’s a freshman here. She’s an artist, she’s funny, and she’s an awesome dancer.
Q: When did you start playing soccer?
A: I was 9 years old. It started when I was going to St. Mary Magdalen (Catholic School). I threw a soccer ball to one of the kids. He said, “Soccer isn’t with your hands, it’s with your feet.” At first I was just playing at recess. Then I joined a rec team. In the first game, the first time I had the ball, I scored a goal.
Q: You play for the Washington Rush Soccer Club. I read in The Herald that you were one of 12 players from your Rush team signed to play college soccer. So Gonzaga University has accepted you, and you’ll play there?
A: Yes, I’m all set to go to Gonzaga. I got the acceptance letter. Washington Rush really helped. When they (Gonzaga) came to see me practice during junior year, it was the best practice I’ve ever had in my life. Ben Somoza, my Washington Rush coach, is really great.
Q: What soccer position do you play?
A: For the Kamiak team, I play forward. I’m a center midfielder for the Rush. In college, I’ll probably play outside midfielder. Someday, I really want to play for the national team in the Olympics.
Q: And you were up for an Inspireum Soccer Award? That’s prestigious recognition from a foundation that helps athletes who have inspiring life stories.
A: I was one of the finalists, and got some scholarship money.
Q: What would you like to tell other kids about overcoming difficult times?
A: My message is not to judge people. Everyone goes through something rough. You can succeed. The choices you make decide who you are.
Q: Do you have a favorite class?
A: (Advanced placement) government with Mr. (Jerry) Morris. He’s awesome. He makes politics sound fun. Mr. Morris has opened my eyes. Now I’m paying attention to the presidential primaries.
Q: How about a favorite book?
A: Right now I’m really into “The Hunger Games.” I couldn’t put it down.
Q: If you have spare time, how do you spend it?
A: I help the Rush with the little kids. And I’m a hostess at the Mukilteo Speedway Cafe. When I’m not working, playing soccer or hanging out with my boyfriend, I’m sleeping.
Q: Do you have a career in mind?
A: I really want to be a teacher or a social worker, and work with kids in foster care.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460, firstname.lastname@example.org.