From University of Pittsburgh Athletic Department report
Juliana Vazquez signed a professional contract with Puerto Rico Sol FC on Thursday, becoming Pitt’s first women’s soccer player under head coach Randy Waldrum to turn pro. The redshirt-senior wrapped up her career this fall as a four-year starter at midfield for the Panthers.
“The main reason I came to Pitt was because I wanted to help build a program and a legacy, rather than latching on to an already established program,” said Vazquez. “After my last two seasons here at Pitt, I am confident that I am leaving the program in a much better place then I found it. Coach Waldrum and his staff greatly contributed to my development as a player over these last two seasons, and I cannot thank them enough for investing in me. I am so grateful and excited for the opportunity to play for Puerto Rico Sol and to fulfill my lifelong dream of playing professional soccer.”
“We are extremely excited and proud of Jules for signing her first pro contract,” said Waldrum. “Since we arrived here day one, she has been everything a coach could ask for in their program. She’s extremely talented and skillful, reads the game well, and is passionate about her play. In addition she brings all the intangibles that most successful players have. She’s a great leader with very high character and committed to making a difference in the world. She has a great work ethic and is an outstanding student. Our young players couldn’t have had a better role model than Jules, and I’m so happy for her that she gets to continue her playing career. She’ll be leaving Pitt with a great degree which will set her up for life after her playing days are over.”
Vazquez appeared in 70 games while notching 61 starts over her impressive career. Serving as team captain for the 2019 season, she scored a goal and assisted on the golden goal against Boston College this year for the Panthers’ first ACC win in three years. She recorded four goals and seven assists for 15 total points in her career.
Graduating with a degree in Health Information Management last year, Vazquez will still take online classes during the spring to receive her master’s in Health Informatics. She has earned ACC Academic Honors every season.
Puerto Rico Sol FC is based in Mayagüez and plays in Liga PR Femenina, the top women’s league in the country. One of the more successful teams in the Caribbean and Central America, the Sol won the league’s championship last year while outscoring teams 114-3.
Vazquez becomes the second member of her family to play professional sports. Her older brother Nick (Boo) Vazquez played baseball for the Panthers and was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2010. He also played in Mayagüez for the Los Indios de Mayagüez in the fall-winter of 2016. Juliana’s father, Benjamin, is 100% Puerto Rican, and her grandparents reside a few hours away in Morovis.
“Thank you to my mom and dad for supporting and encouraging me every step of the way and my brother for serving as my inspiration and paving the way in professional sports,” said Vazquez. “I cannot wait to continue the family tradition of playing professionally in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico!”