By Parmida Schahhosseini
Courageous. Determined. Passionate. Those are the words many use to describe senior midfielder Larissa Campos, who has overcome many obstacles to pursue her dream of playing soccer.
As a talented basketball and soccer player in high school, Campos has never shied away from success and has continuously pushed herself to be the best.
When Campos arrived to Baylor, she had her whole future in front of her, but one moment changed everything. With 14 games under her belt, Campos sustained a season ending knee injury, affecting her soccer career onwards.
“That rocked my world a bit,” Campos said. “I’ve heard of people tearing their ACL’s, but I didn’t really know how serious of an injury it was.”
Soccer was her life. Ever since she received training from her youth coaches, Tito and Zico, her identity had been tied to soccer. Despite the circumstances, the way she handled her situation has inspired her sister, sophomore forward Bri Campos.
“What she’s been through as an athlete with her knee and everything she’s had to overcome, is very honorable,” Bri Campos said. “I respect that about her and how she handled those situations throughout her career.”
During her sophomore year, Larissa Campos took a medical redshirt. The adjustment was difficult because she didn’t want to be on the bench. Her dream to play soccer was halted, but she wouldn’t trade her experience for the world. It has not only taught her how to be a good teammate, but also strengthened her faith in God.
Campos grew up in a religious household, with both her parents being devout Catholics, but neither of them forced Catholicism on her. All they hoped their daughters was for them to have a relationship with God.
“It sparked my passion in my faith and to trust in God,” Larissa Campos said. “That injury gave me time to figure out what I really wanted to pursue in my faith.”
It took Campos longer than most people to overcome the ACL injury. Whenever she would try to get back on the field there was always a setback, leading to two more surgeries.
“Every single time that I was almost back to where I wanted to be, God was like, ‘no, you’re not ready yet,’” Larissa Campos said. “He [God] kept pulling me away from what I wanted so much to make me realize that your insight shouldn’t be soccer, your insight should be me.”
It has been a long journey for Campos, but she attributes it to making her stronger. She hopes to use her testimony to encourage others. She continues to push her teammates to be better on and off the field. It’s these experiences that have made her into a mature player that her teammates look up to.
“She’s a very hard worker,” Baylor co-head coach Marci Jobson said. “She’s a leader off the field. She’s a leader at practice.”
Campos cherishes her time as a Baylor soccer player because it has taught her not to be selfish and to play for the team.
While there are times where she wishes she didn’t sustain that knee injury, she realizes what a humbling experience it was. Her experiences have helped her appreciate the game more because it was almost taken away.
“Being able to put my cleats on every day is a blessing,” Larissa Campos said. “It changes the way I play. I always play like it’s my last time.”
Her competitive nature adds another element to the team. Growing up, her parents always pushed her and Bri to be competitive and fueled that fire in them. As they grew up they began to emulate each other.
“It’s a lot of fun playing with her,” Bri Campos said. “I think it’s good for both of us because we both have competitive natures. It pushes us to be better and one up each other, but it’s in a healthy way, pushing us to improve on and off the field.”
During her time at Baylor, Campos has learned to play with heart.
Campos wants to leave a legacy, so Baylor’s soccer teams in the future can continue playing with edge, because talent isn’t everything. Her goal is to be an inspiration to others.
This season, Campos has been effective off the bench, giving Baylor the extra offense it’s looking for with two goals and an assist in its transition to committee scoring.
Campos’ love of soccer will always remain a part of her. The injury spurred her passion even more to continue following God’s plan for her and to continue to be an inspiration to others.
After she graduates, Campos hopes to continue to inspire others by coaching soccer.