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“It shaped everything about my life”

Maya Mendoza-Exstrom was a star for Puget Sound. Despite a successful career in law, she remains connected to her DIII soccer roots.

Former Puget Sound women's soccer player Maya Mendoza-Exstrom embodies the phrase "follow your passions and discover your potential" in every part of her life.She was an All-American soccer player at Puget Sound, who helped the Loggers to Northwest Conference titles in 2000 and 2002. Beyond this, Mendoza helped establish a culture that still reigns at Puget Sound. Since 2002, the Loggers have continued to win a string of conference crowns – the streak is now at 11 consecutive titles.

Winning wasn't the only tradition she established. She was a two-time student-athlete advisory committee president at Puget Sound and spearheaded the annual Trick-or-Can community service project that continues to be one of the Loggers' biggest community service efforts of the year.

Mendoza graduated with degrees in history and international relations and went on to earn her law degree at the University of Washington.  She also participated in an extended-study program in Aberdeen, Scotland, studying European Union law as part of her domestic degree work. 

She has gone on to become a very successful lawyer at the Mendoza Law Center, providing a broad base of legal expertise for her clients. Her spirit and passion for giving back to her community also has grown. She regularly volunteers with the Housing Justice Project and King County Bar Association Legal Clinics, and is a past president and current trustee of the Highline Schools Foundation.

She hasn’t forgotten her sport, either. Mendoza-Exstrom has volunteered as an assistant coach at Puget Sound over the past decade. And she leads girls soccer teams at a variety of levels. Most recently, she was the girls director of development at Highline Premier FC before being promoted to director of coaching.

Mendoza-Exstrom recently was appointed as the executive director of the RAVE Foundation, a non-profit organization in Seattle with a mission to design, develop and build all-weather sports fields in communities that currently lack places to play. She added that her new role with the RAVE foundation allows her to encourage kids and their families to “get out, get active, get fit and kick a ball, just like it started for me.”

Choosing to attend a Division III member school “shaped everything about my life,” she said.

“To be at a university that cultivated all of my passions concurrently -- where the field complemented the classroom and vice versa -- taught me that my student side and my athlete side would never be separate...our campus community nurtured the now guiding principle of my life:  pursue passions.

"I think the thing that has stuck with me most from my time at Puget Sound is a passion for learning and growing, and knowing that I am far from a finished product, but prepared for the challenges and changes that life will bring me over the next 30 years."

Maya Mendoza-Exstrom was nominated for inclusion in the 40-in-40 series by the University of Puget Sound sports information office.