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The universal football player was named the captain of the team

WINDOW ROCK

Aidin Jesus loves football.

She has been playing sports since the age of seven, and last year she completed her first season on the women’s soccer team at Aurora University in Illinois.

Jesúse had a big impact as she spent the most minutes with the Spartan team, playing 1293 minutes including 15 starts.

“Basically, I played every minute of every game,” said Jesuse, a 2021 Volcano Vista High graduate in Albuquerque.

“I think it’s a big achievement, especially if I’m a freshman, because not many freshmen start,” she said. “I’m just really focused on making the most of every opportunity that I have.”

Athlete Dine is originally from Albuquerque, her parents are Adrian and Geraldine Hezuze. Her father is from Tohajili and her mother is from Sanosti, New Mexico.

She has two older brothers, Jerrick Smith and Xian Jesus.

Spartan’s five-year-old coach Shannon Sitch said Jesuse was one of the players she didn’t remove from the field.

“Eidin was great,” Sitch said. “Right from the moment she got here, she set the example, and what I like about her is that she is so versatile.

“She played quite a few positions for us,” she added. “What I like about her is that she doesn’t ask questions. You can put her anywhere and she’ll say, “Yes, coach.” She works her hardest.”

In addition to having the most minutes in a game, Sytch said her student led the team in points with five goals and one assist for 11 points.

“The great thing about Aideen is that she’s one of our most consistent players,” Sitch said. “You always know what you will get from Eidin and she will always influence the game.

“She will always do what you ask,” she said, “and for a freshman, that is always very hard to find.”

At the end of last season, Sytch had a meeting with Jesus, and they outlined what will happen in the upcoming season.

“I kind of gave her trouble and said, ‘Well, now you’ve set the bar really high,'” Sitch said. “She has high hopes for next year and the great thing about her is that we don’t feel like we haven’t reached her full potential yet.

“She’s had a great year, but Aidin has something else in store,” she added. “That’s what’s so exciting – I don’t think we’ve seen the best version of her.”

Based on her contributions and managerial skills, Jesúse was chosen as team captain for this year’s upcoming season.

“It’s a testament to how the team feels about her,” Sitch said. “She’s one of those people who sets the pace in our practices and, you know, she really demands a lot from her teammates.”

Being chosen as team captain is what Jesuse is most proud of.

“I think that as an indigenous people, you won’t see many players playing American football, let alone leading a team,” she said. “I’m a person who is ready to push everyone, so I think that’s why I was chosen as captain.”

And while programs such as East New Mexico, Iowa Wesleyan, and West Colorado interested her, Jesuse said she wants to try something new as a reason to play for the Illinois school.

“While living in Albuquerque, I played a lot of tournaments in the Southwest,” she said. “Some of them were in Colorado and I chose Aurora to be in a different area. And you know, the snow here is crazy.”

Jesus was first featured in the Navajo Times when she attended Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School in eighth grade.

In that 2016 season, she placed eighth overall in the Small School Cross Country Championships and gained national acclaim by helping her team to the A-2A class state title.

She spent two years at Cottonwood before transferring to Vulcan Vista to complete her high school studies. She changed schools to play soccer, as the sport was not offered at a private school in Albuquerque.

“I remember all my teammates showing off their high school medals and I was like, ‘I want to play high school football,'” said Jesus, who played for Rio Rapids during the off-season.

Jesus said they played in the state every season, and in her junior year they were state champions among major schools.

It was through her club team that Sitch found Jesus.

“I recruit mostly West Coasters,” the Aurora coach said. “I go there four or five times a year, so I saw her play in San Diego and then Las Vegas.”

“I watched her play for two years and we developed a relationship through the recruitment process,” she added. “And I finally convinced her and her family to come visit and they loved it.”

Jesúse said she’s excited to play for Aurora University, but has had to make some adjustments, especially since she’s over 1,000 miles from home.

“It’s a different experience,” she said. “I needed to figure out how to live on my own. You know, after high school and the club, my parents were at every game. It was hard to adjust without having this support system, but I managed.”

At Aurora, Jesuse specializes in accounting and finance. In the end, she wants to become a certified public accountant and work for the FBI.

“I’ve always been curious, you know, about my parents’ bills,” she said. “I like managing money, so I figured it was right for me.

“I took one accounting course and I really enjoyed it,” she said. “It was then that I decided that this was my specialty from there.”


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