Rabun Gap Stories

Athlete Profile: Mateo Diaz '22

Senior, Mateo Diaz is one of the starters for the Boys Varsity Soccer team and was a part of the State Runner Up team two years ago.  He is a boarding student from Santiago, Chile.  This is his second year at Rabun Gap.

How long have you been playing soccer? Are there other teams that you play for?
I have been playing soccer since I was 7. I started in a high school back in Chile, where everything I learned is because my old coach Dario taught me. Yes, I used to play for an academy called one sports, also I have played in Captadores online, and many other teams back in Chile. 
What position do you play?
I play center back

What inspired you to play soccer?
My grandfather and my father did, because they were always supporting me since I started playing, they were always giving me feedback and they were always telling me the ways I could improve.
What is the best part about playing for the Eagles soccer team? 
Feeling your best in the field when there is a big challenge. As soon as I hear we are playing someone that is supposed to be good, it motivates me to do my best and to beat who they are.

What has been the most exciting game so far for you? 
Carmel game for sure, because my family came for that game, and the hype we got before playing the game was key for beating them. It made me feel awesome after I scored the penalty because I had the chance to celebrate with my people and my family as well.
You were at Rabun Gap for your sophomore year, back home in Chile for your junior year, and have now returned as a senior.  What led you to come play soccer at Rabun Gap and what made you want to return after your year back home? 
Back in Chile, things were really tough during lockdown because I could not play soccer most of the year. So one day after thinking about which was my best option at the moment was to return back to Rabun Gap, because I was able to play soccer and to do many more things than I could do in Chile.

What is the hardest part of being a student-athlete? How has the environment and people here at Rabun Gap helped you? 
Having to manage your time wisely, for school and for your daily life, because when you have games, you get back pretty late, so sometimes you do not have enough time to do your homework at times. 

What makes playing at Rabun Gap special to you?

I feel that being on a team that I was on before is very special because even though we did not play together after I left for a year, that chemistry was still there. Of course there was new people coming in this year as well, but I think that the union will always be there, because how well we work and play together.

What is your favorite thing about your coaches? 
That I can trust them as well as they can trust me.  At Rabun Gap coaches will always help you to get better, and help if you have questions.

What do you like to do in your free time? 
Listen to music while I workout or when I am organizing my stuff. 
What's your favorite class and why? 
Mr. Miller's class, because you never know what is going to happen in that class.
What are your plans for after high school? 
Playing college soccer and see how far I can get with my soccer career.
Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School is a private, coeducational day and boarding school for grades Pre-K through 12. Centrally located between Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC, and Asheville, NC, we prepare young people for college, career, and a lifetime of leadership and service.