Concacaf.com, Mon. Oct. 11, 2021– Khalydia Velasquez might be the youngest Belizean player to score internationally in 2018 at IMG Academy but you would never know it when talking to the humble and mild-mannered teen. Growing up, she always watched the boys in her neighborhood playing football and knew one day she would find a way to join them. Soon, at the encouragement of her siblings, she decided to get in the game and a new world opened up for her. For a shy child, the confidence she discovered on the field was unparalleled to anything she had ever experienced. That confidence led her to recognize that she now had a platform to help other kids discover their own love of the game. She started teaching football to other children and noticed how her actions, which she considered small at the time, created a ripple effect. She began lending out her equipment and organizing friendly games in her small neighborhood. Soon, more and more kids began joining the games.
Like most girls, Khalydia has been influenced by the women in her life, mainly her grandmother, that has served an integral role in her upbringing. As Khalydia grew on and off the field, she was surprised at the level of support she received from her grandmother. Khalydia had always believed her to be more traditional in her views and wasn’t sure how she felt about girls playing sports. It turns out, she is her granddaughter’s biggest fan.
When asked what advice she would give other girls her age, her message was simple but powerful, “Just play the game and don’t let fear stop you.”
(AMANDALA Sports Desk Note: We are happy to share the above story appearing on the Concacaf website. As Belize’s leading goal scorer in the recent U20 Women World Cup Qualifiers, your Stann Creek District and all of Belize are proud of you, young lady. Congratulations, Khalydia!)