Humans of Harker: Positive persistence

Emma Boyce embraces compassion and adventure


Sydney Takemoto

“I would never want to look back on my life with regret for things I wanted to do, so if you’re considering doing something and you think it may not end well, but it could also end well, I think you should go and do whatever it is you want to do,” Emma Boyce (12) said.

With her long brown hair slicked back in a high ponytail and her eyes trained on the ball, Emma Boyce (12) sprints across the soccer field as her opponents trail behind her. Her white jersey etched with the number “16” on it ripples in the breeze as she raises her right foot and kicks the soccer ball.

Guided by her dad at 5 years old, Emma began playing soccer for recreational clubs such as the California Thorns. Since then, she has grown to be an integral member of her teams. Though she was raised trying out various sports such as basketball and T-ball, Emma believed that soccer was her true passion.

“I stuck with soccer because … it made me feel like part of a team, [and I liked] working with the team towards a certain goal and winning, so I started sticking with soccer once I entered a competitive level, and then it became this big part of my life, and I dropped all my other sports and started focusing on that,” Emma said.

Through her experiences, Emma has continued to grow her skills and become both a better teammate and competitor. After transferring to the California Thorns, Emma realized that she had to put all her effort into acquiring the starter position. 

“That helped me grow as a soccer player because I realized that I need to work hard so that I’m not on the bottom anymore. So, at practice, I took it to a whole other level and … it also helped me realize that as a person, you need to work for the things you want and that things don’t come to you,” Emma said.

Though she’s faced stressful and upsetting situations, Emma has experienced remarkable moments that have filled her with pride. One instance was when she was playing Castilleja in a soccer match and was able to score against them. Additionally, learning from her coach’s unique techniques, Emma focused on her goal, passed the opposing team’s defenders and skillfully aimed the ball straight into the goal. Fueled by her supportive team and her friends cheering from the sidelines, she motivates herself to do well and reach her goals.

While soccer is what Emma spends the majority of her time practicing, she also enjoys hiking, drawing and traveling with her friends. Close friend Zoe Kister (12) describes Emma as one of the most selfless people she knows.

“Emma [is] very caring and very considerate to others. She often puts other people first and puts her friends in front of her, which is a really admirable quality,” Zoe said.

Another one of Emma’s friends, Sarah Baicher (12), also expresses her gratitude for Emma’s understanding and attentive nature. Sarah hopes Emma can realize her importance and impact on those around her.  

“I want her to know how much of a blessing she is to her friends. She’s always there for you no matter what,” Sarah said. 

Emma recalled an instance on one of their many trips with Zoe where their strong relationship made a terrifying situation a memory they can now look back on with laughter. The adventurous pair traveled to Lake Tahoe where they went paddle-boarding. As they started paddle-boarding back from their initial location, the waves became too powerful for them to move, and they were forced to move to shore and walk all the way back with their paddle-boards weighing them down. This affinity for risk-taking is where the more daring side of her comes to light.

“I would never want to look back on my life with regret for things I wanted to do, so if you’re considering doing something and you think it may not end well, but it could also end well, I think you should go and do whatever it is you want to do,” Emma said.

Emma’s soccer coach both at Harker and in club soccer, Iman Siadat, expressed his gratitude and admiration for Emma for how she’s grown over the years and how her character traits make her a truly exceptional player. 

“I always felt comfortable directing some of the new kids towards her because she’s so embracing, [and] she’s got a really nice positive attitude,” Siadat said.

He further explains that Emma was an average player when they first met, but during her junior and senior years, her newfound confidence helped her blossom into the best version of herself both as a person and as a player.

She really came out of her shell and started showing her qualities … It wasn’t that she didn’t have the ability before, but with age, confidence and experience, she really separated herself on the field as one of the better players,” Siadat said.

Sarah also comments on how Emma has truly grown over the years and has evolved into the best version of herself—she’s become more confident and open to taking risks.

“From freshman year, she was a bit shy, less outgoing, and I feel like as the years have gone on, I’ve seen her grow in her confidence, self-confidence, body confidence. She’s just become a more outgoing, fun person who’s down to try new things,” Sarah said.

Already described by her peers as compassionate, Emma hopes to leave Harker with that view of her imprinted in everyone’s minds.

“I want to be remembered as a friendly face and someone that someone can always go up to or approach and have a conversation and ask for advice if they need it or to talk about anything,” Emma said.