Jovanhy Martinez is committed to hard work, and it shows. A defender for the men’s soccer team, who graduated in May with a 3.96 GPA in Mechanical Engineering, Martinez was recently named MiraCosta College’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year. “It’s a huge honor,” Jovanhy says. “I wasn’t expecting it.”
Martinez started playing soccer when he was four, and credits his parents for supporting his passion for soccer and his commitment to his studies, noting, “My parents have been my biggest supporters from day one. They took me to all my practices and games and they always encouraged me to get the best grades in school.”
Soccer is one of the reasons Martinez chose to attend MiraCosta. After piling on rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) Honors classes in high school, he felt unsure about what he wanted to major in when he went to college. But of one thing he was sure—he wanted to keep playing competitive soccer. He thought MiraCosta would offer him the opportunity to solidify his major and career goals while playing for the soccer team.
He also chose MiraCosta because of its reputation for providing strong student support. Martinez appreciates Tammy Vaught, his EOPS counselor, for her dedicated guidance, and names his soccer coach, Frank Zimmerman, as one of his top supporters, stating, “Coach Zimmerman has been an amazing mentor. He’s encouraged me as an athlete and as a student, pushing me to do my best both on and off the field.
Coach Zimmerman gushes when you ask him about Martinez. “Jovanhy is a great kid—he gets it. He’s been able to take this opportunity his parents have given him to achieve the American Dream and he’s maximized it. He’s one of the best young men I’ve had the pleasure of coaching,” points out Zimmerman.
Martinez made the President’s List every semester at MiraCosta College, received several scholarships for academic achievement, and was chosen to participate in NASA’s prestigious NCCAS program (NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars). Coach Zimmerman thinks this is perfect for Martinez, adding, “He’s always had his eyes on the stars—he’s always aspired to achieve more than most people dream of.”
In the fall, Martinez will attend the University of California at Irvine, where he plans to continue studying mechanical engineering. “I’m confident MiraCosta has prepared me academically to be successful there,” Jovanhy says, noting that the skills he developed playing soccer are also essential to his success. “As a soccer player, I learned to always pay attention, and that communication and comprehension are key factors to building a strong team.”
The MiraCosta men’s soccer team finished the season with third place in the Southern Coast Conference and a memorable final game trouncing one of their biggest rivals. To top it off, Martinez was named the Pacific Coast Conference Athlete of the Year in addition to being named MiraCosta’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
When asked if he plans to continue playing soccer, Martinez jokes that he’s retired now, quickly adding, “But if an opportunity presented itself for me to play for my school, I’d do it.”
Martinez is excited about what the future holds, although he will miss the time he spent at MiraCosta, stating, “I have nothing to say but great things about MiraCosta. I tell everyone I know to go there! It was such an incredible experience.”