TRONUS Athlete Spotlight: Lia Cruz - Defying Odds and Redefining Strength

TRONUS Athlete Spotlight: Lia Cruz - Defying Odds and Redefining Strength

TRONUS Athlete Spotlight: Lia Cruz - Defying Odds and Redefining Strength

In the world of sports, where gender lines are often drawn sharply, Lia Cruz stands as a formidable force that refuses to adhere to conventional boundaries. Starting her journey in a boys' flag football team at the tender age of 9, Lia's story is not just about playing the game; it's about redefining it, challenging stereotypes, and setting new benchmarks for athletes everywhere.

Early Beginnings: A Challenge Met with Determination

The path was not laid with roses for Lia. Initially, her male teammates saw her not as an equal player but as just a "girl." Undeterred, Lia viewed them not as obstacles but as benchmarks. Her relentless drive to excel saw her skills sharpen, earning the respect and acceptance of her peers. This early experience taught her the importance of perseverance, setting the stage for her future in sports.

Love for the Game: Finding Joy in Flag Football

Lia's passion for flag football ignited when she sought something beyond tackle football. She found flag football more enjoyable, a sentiment that fueled her commitment to the sport. Witnessing and contributing to the growth of flag football from a nascent stage to significant tournaments has been a source of immense pride for Lia. Her journey in the sport is a testament to her pioneering spirit.

National Team Success: A Dream Realized

Making it to the first U17 USA national team and clinching the Jr International Cup was a landmark achievement for Lia. This feat was all the more remarkable as she had been recovering from an injury. The experience not only bolstered her resolve but also solidified her commitment to the sport, motivating her to aim even higher.

Aspirations and Goals: Eyes on the Prize

With the women's national team tryouts on the horizon, Lia is fully immersed in her preparation, juggling rigorous training sessions with academic commitments. Making the team would not just be a personal victory; it would be a milestone in her journey, embodying her dedication and hard work.

Scholarship and Education: Balancing the Scale

Attending St. Thomas University on a Flag Football Scholarship presents its unique set of challenges and opportunities. Lia has meticulously crafted a daily routine that allows her to balance her academic responsibilities with her athletic commitments, a testament to her discipline and time management skills.

Cultural and Personal Growth: Embracing Dual Identities

Lia's life has been a tapestry of experiences, woven from her time in El Centro and Mexicali to her travels across the globe for flag football. Facing derogatory remarks about her heritage, Lia remains unfazed, embracing her dual identity with pride and resilience.

Overcoming Adversity: The Road to Recovery

A viral touchdown run, and a subsequent knee injury could have derailed many athletes, but not Lia. Her recovery journey was marked by determination, rigorous rehabilitation, and an unwavering support system. This ordeal was not just about getting back on the field; it was about inspiring others to never give up.

Mental and Physical Health: A Renewed Focus

Post-injury, Lia placed a greater emphasis on her health, incorporating diet, knee mobility, and strength training into her routine. This holistic approach to recovery underscores her commitment to come back stronger.

Viral Fame: A Platform for Influence

The viral touchdown that catapulted Lia into the spotlight brought not just fame but opportunities and new relationships. However, Lia remains grounded, focusing on her love for the game over the numbers.

Role Models and Inspiration: Drawing Strength from Pioneers

Diana Flores, a symbol of success and resilience in flag football, serves as Lia's role model. Her journey from humble beginnings to becoming the face of flag football inspires Lia to pursue greatness against all odds.

Advice for Aspiring Athletes: Dare to Dream

Lia's message to young girls is clear: chase your dreams, irrespective of societal expectations. Her journey is a beacon of hope, encouraging aspiring athletes to believe in their potential.

Future Goals: Setting the Sights on the Olympics

With her eyes set on the 2028 Olympics, Lia's journey is far from over. Her dedication to preparation and focus is unwavering, as she aims to not just participate but excel on the world stage.

Impact of Flag Football: Championing Gender Equality

Flag football has not only shaped Lia into a disciplined and persevering individual; it has also given her a platform to challenge and change the narrative around women in sports. Through her achievements, Lia underscores the potential of flag football to promote gender equality, showcasing the prowess of female athletes in a traditionally male-dominated arena.

Lia Cruz's journey is a testament to the power of determination, resilience, and passion. Her story, illuminated in this TRONUS Athlete Spotlight, serves as an inspiration to all, reminding us that barriers are but steppingstones on the path to greatness.

Hometown/where you live now: I was born in El Centro, California, raised in Mexicali, Baja California, but I live in Miami, Florida

University/Team Name/Position: St. Thomas University, Bobcats, Center, Receiver

Sports/activities you participate in: Flag football Stats/accomplishments: 2022 17u USA national team.

How you use TRONUS as part of your active recovery: I use TRONUS almost every day, before/after practice, and in class.

Stay updated with Lia's inspiring journey on social media.

Social Media Handles:

Instagram: (@paulettee_11,

Facebook: Liaapaulettee
Tik Tok
: liaapauletteec

photo credit: @darrylcumminsfilms