Obstacles make champions: Tennis’ Soto overcomes challenges to succeed away from home

By BrenShavia Jordan | Broadcast Reporter

A true champion is not only measured by his accomplishments, but how well he can overcome barriers that may block his way. That rings true for junior tennis player Matias Soto.

Coming from Copiapo, Chile ,to the United States brought many challenges, but his determination fuels his willingness to triumph. Soto said his biggest struggle was overcoming the language barrier, but his team helped him become accustomed to being away from home.

“My language was pretty tough. In the beginning it took me like two months to get used to and be confident to talk in front of people,” Soto said. “Since the first day I had a really good relationship with my teammates and my coaches, so that helped me out a lot.”

Growing up Soto watched his dad and brothers play tennis as a hobby. At the age of 4 he picked up a tennis racket and has been playing ever since. His passion led him to Baylor, where he continues to grow in the sport and his character. Surrounded by dedicated teammates and coaches, he continues to prevail.

Prior to Baylor, the junior competed at the 2017 French Open and Wimbledon and was ranked as high as No. 58 in Juniors ITF.

Soto played in the top three positions in singles and doubles for Baylor last season, finishing 32/11 overall. He closed out the fall of his sophomore year with with a 1-1 singles record at the Longhorn Invitational.

Brian Boland, Baylor men’s tennis head coach, said that Soto’s drive to succeed has been a huge contribution to Baylor tennis.

“Matias Soto is one of the most humble, hardworking young men that I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with in over 25 years as a collegiate coach,” Boland said. “He is a special young man. He comes to work every day not only to make himself better but makes everyone else around him better. His passion and desire to maximize his potential and play at the next level and be a professional tennis player someday.”

Soto’s goal is to play professional tennis, using all he has learned from his time at Baylor. His journey hasn’t been easy, but it is one he is proud of how far he’s come. Baylor is known for preparing champions for life, and he feels he is no exception. And while Soto continues pursuing his passion, he has a supportive family back home. The Chilean shared the importance of family as his motivation.

“I want to help my family to have a better life. My family is happy that I am studying here, they know it’s a great university.They see I am getting better as a person and tennis player,” Soto said. “It’s not easy being away from my family. I am really close to them – but they are happy.”