- By Jason Dougas Lewis
- In Student Athlete of the Week
USC junior Autumn Altamirano has a bright future in soccer, and after that with the FBI as a criminal profiler. Photo by Jason Lewis
Article originally published by the Los Angeles Sentinel. www.lasentinel.net
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor (2010-2013)
Autumn Altamirano’s athletic abilities and intelligence is taking here places. Whether it is overseas to continue her soccer career after she graduates from USC, or to the FBI as a forensic psychologist, she has a bright future ahead of her.
Altamirano, who is in her junior year at USC, is from Irvine, where her African American mother and Ecuadorian father raised her.
"A lot of people try to guess what I am, which is pretty funny,” Altamirano said. “But it's really cool being two different nationalities.”
Altamirano’s father played basketball at UC Riverside, and he has influenced her athletic career.
"He has always been kind of my coach, always helped me out with my sports,” Altamirano said. “He wanted me to play basketball of course, but I started out with soccer. I tried basketball, but I was way too aggressive, and I'd foul out of every game. My dad would be like, 'you can't do that!' But he's always been there to coach me and to help me out."
After trying out several sports as a child, Altamirano found her niche in soccer, which she has been playing since she was four-years old.
"I tried gymnastics, but I fell off the beam, so I was done with that,” Altamirano said. “I played tennis, but it was too boring. I tried softball, but I was picking flowers in the outfield. So my parents put me in soccer and I loved it."
Altamirano really likes that soccer is a team sport because she likes to work with others, and she likes that she can be aggressive. One of her favorite moves is the slide tackle, where she slides feet first at the ball in an attempt to steal it from an opponent.
Altamirano has played all over the field over the course of her soccer career. While at USC she has played outside mid and defensive positions. She likes to play forward so that she can score goals, but she understands that defense wins championships, so she is more than willing to play those positions.
UCLA was Altamirano’s favorite school when she was growing up, but her choices of colleges came down to USC and Stanford. She made trips to both, but after spending time on USC’s campus, and seeing how close nit the athletes were, she was all in. It was only fitting that her very first goal of her college career came against UCLA, and it was the game-winning goal.
Academically, Altamirano earned PAC-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention as a sophomore, as she has a 3.5 grade point average. The key to her success is time management.
"In college it is difficult to manage practicing in the morning, getting all of your homework done, getting to class,” Altamirano said. “I'd say that time management is absolutely the key. I do homework until about 11:30 at night. I'm a big studier, yeah, I'm a nerd."
Altamirano does most of her studying during the week, but leaves time on the weekend to watch television, where her favorite show is Criminal Minds. She takes great interest in that show because she wants to be a forensic psychologist when her athletic career is over. She is majoring in psychology, and she wants to be a criminal profiler for the FBI. As a profession, she would create personality profiles on suspects to determine if they committed a crime, or to help locate criminals at large.
For Altamirano, athletics has helped her achieve at a high level, and her education will take her even farther.