Aidyn Hesuse loves soccer.
She’s been playing the sport since she was seven years old, and last year completed her first season on the Aurora University women’s soccer team in Illinois.
Hesuse had a huge impact as she recorded the most minutes in the Spartan team with 1,293 minutes played, including 15 starts.
“I basically played every minute of every game,” said Hesuse, a 2021 graduate of Volcano Vista High in Albuquerque.
“I think it’s a big achievement, especially as a freshman because not many newbies start,” she said. “I’m really focused on making the most of every opportunity that’s given to me.”
Athlete Diné is from Albuquerque and his parents are Adrian and Geraldine Hesuse. Her father is from To’hajiilee and her mother is from Sanostee, New Mexico.
She has two older brothers, Jerrick Smith and Xyan Hesuse.
Spartans fifth-year coach Shannon Sitch said Hesuse was one of the players she didn’t take off the field.
“Aidyn was awesome,” Sitch said. “As soon as she arrived here she led by example and what I love about her is that she is so versatile.
“She played quite a few positions for us,” she added. “What I like about her is that she doesn’t ask questions. You can put her anywhere and she says ‘Yes, coach’. She works as hard as she can.
In addition to the most minutes recorded, Sitch said his high school student led the team in points as they finished with five goals and an assist for 11 points.
“The great thing about Aidyn is that she’s one of our most consistent players,” Sitch said. “You always know what you’re going to get from Aidyn, and she’ll always have an impact on the game.
“She’s always going to do what you ask,” she said, “and for a freshman, that’s always really hard to come by.”
At the end of last season, Sitch sat down with Hesuse and they outlined what was to come for the upcoming season.
“I kind of gave him a hard time and was like, ‘Well, now you’ve set the bar really high,'” Sitch said. “She has high expectations for next year, and the great thing about her is that we don’t think we’ve reached her full potential yet.
“She’s had a great year, but there’s still a lot to do for Aidyn,” she added. “That’s what’s so exciting – I don’t think we’ve seen the best version of her yet.”
Based on his contributions and managerial skills, Hesuse was voted as team captain for the upcoming season of this year.
“It’s a testament to what the team thinks of her,” Sitch said. “She’s one of those people who dictate the pace of our training and, you know, she really demands a lot from her teammates.”
Being selected as team captain is what Hesuse is most proud of.
“I think as an Indigenous person you don’t see a lot of players playing college soccer – let alone leading the team,” she said. “I’m a person who’s ready to push everyone, so I think that’s why I was voted captain.”
And though she’s attracted interest from programs like Eastern New Mexico, Iowa Wesleyan and Western Colorado, Hesuse said she wanted to experience something new as a reason to play for the club. Illinois school.
“Living in Albuquerque, I got to play in a ton of tournaments in the southwest,” she said. “Some of them were in Colorado, and I picked Aurora so I could be in another area. And you know, the snow is crazy here.
Hesuse was first featured in the Navajo Times when she attended Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School as an eighth grader.
This 2016 season, she placed eighth overall in small schools for cross country and earned All-State accolades while helping her team win a Class A-2A state title.
She spent two years in Cottonwood before transferring to Volcano Vista to complete her high school years. She changed schools to play football because the sport was not offered at Albuquerque’s private school.
“I remember all the teammates at my club were showing their medals in high school and I was like, ‘I want to play high school football,'” said Hesuse, who played for the Rio Rapids club in the offseason.
Hesuse said they reported every season and in his freshman year they were the school’s all-time state champions.
It was through his club team that Sitch found Hesuse.
“I mainly recruit on the West Coast,” the Aurora coach said. “I’m there, four or five times a year, so I’ve seen her play in San Diego and then Las Vegas.”
“I watched her play for two years and we kind of developed a relationship in the recruiting process,” she added. “And I finally convinced her and her family to come visit me and they loved it.”
Hesuse said she was happy to play for Aurora University, but had to make some adjustments, especially more than 1,000 miles from home.
“It’s a different experience,” she says. “I had to figure out how to live independently. You know, coming from high school and club, my parents were at every game. It was hard to adapt without that support system there, but I managed.
At Aurora, Hesuse specializes in accounting and finance. Eventually, she wants to become a CPA and work for the FBI.
“I was always kind of curious about, you know, my parents’ bills,” she said. “I like managing money, so I thought it was a good choice for me.
“I took an accounting course and I really liked it,” she said. “That’s when I decided it was my major from there.”