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Meet The Board: Ilona Montoya

 
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It’s obvious Ilona Montoya’s proudest moment in soccer centers around her daughter, Elisa, former player in the California Youth Soccer Association.

 

"She was playing her last game as a youth with Central Valley Mercury when she scored the first goal in the National Championship!" the Chief Financial Officer of CYSA recalls proudly. "The team won three National Championships, which Elisa played in two. It was an incredible moment!"

Like most parents involved with CYSA, Montoya made the sacrifices necessary to further her daughter’s development in soccer. And for the Montoya’s, this meant traveling three times a week for four years from their home in San Bruno to the team in San Jose – never once missing a game.

Being part of her daughter’s soccer life also helped to develop Montoya’s philosophy, which coincidently, parallels that of CYSA’s.

Like most parents involved with CYSA, Montoya made the sacrifices necessary to further her daughter’s development in soccer. And for the Montoya’s, this meant traveling three times a week for four years from their home in San Bruno to the team in San Jose – never once missing a game.

Being part of her daughter’s soccer life also helped to develop Montoya’s philosophy, which coincidently, parallels that of CYSA’s.

"This is about the kids, not only learning the sport, but instilling those lessons to become responsible adults," Montoya says. "It’s teaching them things they’ll take for the rest of their lives."

Instilling life lessons is paramount to Montoya, as she has proved to herself. Six years ago, the mother of two made a decision to lose weight – one that she says was the important to her health.

"I wanted to stand on one foot and put a sock on but I couldn’t do that," she admits. "That’s when I reached a point in my life that I just couldn’t do this anymore. I had to change."

The determination led Montoya to lose a total of 65 lbs. and can now dead lift 195 lbs.

"I was really heavy and didn’t know how to eat. I was getting older and thought that this way of living is just not going to work," she says. "I got myself a personal trainer, started to do cross fit, and got into shape. It’s important to me now."

Montoya became involved in soccer more than 20 years ago when her family joined CYSA. Her involvement eventually led Montoya to become Commissioner for District 1 before accepting the challenge of CFO on the board.

In the midst of all these activities, Montoya found time to teach 3-to-7-year-olds the game of soccer when she volunteered to coach indoor.

"I would have some players say they couldn’t use their left foot to kick. So we practiced and by the end of eight weeks, they were able to kick with both their feet," she says. "We just had fun. It was the best time ever."

When asked why she continues her involvement in CYSA, given her children have aged out, Montoya takes a deep breath before answering.

"It’s a passion. You want to see this work out and you want to see the kids playing," she states. "You have kids out there who need something to do and this is something they can be proud of. This is their motivator. And if I can help, I will."

 
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