Former soccer player continues competitive drive in medical school

Riley Neuheardt

Brenda Saucedo still has vivid dreams about touching the ball. She remembers the silence and stillness of standing next to her teammates, waiting to run out of the locker room, a muffled rendition of “The Eyes of Texas” ringing in the distance. The former athlete still feels like she can’t be idle.

To this day, Saucedo enjoys adrenaline rushes and a competitive environment. Today, the 2014 graduate and former Texas soccer player taps into the same inner calm as a student at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

“I don’t really thrive in an environment that isn’t hands-on or active,” Saucedo said. “I am very used to the constant adrenaline of always being on the go.”

Saucedo says she feels a surgeon’s lifestyle best suits her analytical side and love for problem-solving. She hopes to conduct research and her own projects in neuroscience — a field involving math and chemistry, subjects she loved in college.

Saucedo, a defender and forward, managed her biochemistry course load with Texas soccer for four years.

According to Saucedo, the balance was a challenge.

“There is such a small margin for error both in the classroom as a biochemistry major at UT but also on the field as an athlete at Texas,” Saucedo said.

Both on and off the field, Saucedo worked to meet high performance standards. Dr. Jennifer Moon, her molecular biology professor, said Saucedo’s attitude fueled her accomplishments.

“She approaches life with a positive, ‘go get ‘em’ attitude but is able to think strategically and has the long-term focus on what she needs to do to achieve her goal,” Moon said. “I can’t help but believe that drive was fostered by her successful soccer career.”

Saucedo admits that her academic experience came with hurdles. She had to work hard in the beginning but says her lab time felt increasingly less foreign over time.

“One of the most delightful things about Brenda is her curiosity,” said Dr. Stacia Rodenbusch, one of Saucedo’s Freshman Research Initiative professors. “She was an inspiration to me and to her classmates.”

Saucedo also credits the soccer coaching staff as a major influence in her life. She says that they didn’t just expect the best from players on the field ­— they also expected the best in the classroom. 

Saucedo’s life no longer revolves around soccer, but she says her soccer passion and lessons she learned now direct her career. She still looks back on her memories with the team fondly.

“I miss the trips and the adrenaline-packed moments,” Saucedo said. “But in all honesty, I really just miss the simple feeling you can sometimes get from being where you belong.”