Jasmine Soto-Castro, she is HER

Meet stand out volleyball player for the Cerritos Falcons, Jasmine Soto-Castro.
#18 Jasmine Soto-Castro serving the ball.
#18 Jasmine Soto-Castro serving the ball.
Derrick Coleman

Voted the league Player of the Year as a senior and junior and earned All-CIF recognition as a junior, a three-time 1st Team all-league selection, Jasmine Soto-Castro has done it all on the Volleyball court and she decided to take her talents to Cerritos despite the many offers that came her way.

“Yeah I had other offers from Rio (Hondo), Los Angeles City College, I had some from different states too, there were some universities that contacted me but they were far away and I wanted to stay close to home for now,” said Soto-Castro.

What ultimately sealed the deal for her to join Cerritos was the support from volleyball Head Coach Kari Hemmerling.

“She made me feel really comfortable, getting to know her because she would come to some of my club tournaments, she would talk to me and was telling me how she would love for me to be on the team,” Soto-Castro explained.

“There was just this one day where I called her and I told her, ‘I would love to play for you’. After that it was weird because I had to tell all the other colleges like “I’m sorry I’m already committed.”

All it took was one phone call with Hemmerling for Soto-Castro to become a Falcon.

Jasmine fell in love with the game of volleyball at the age of 12, it all started when she would play multiple sports at local parks that included basketball, soccer, and softball.

She caught the attention of one of the coaches for the clubs in the city of Commerce and she was asked to play for the volleyball club, “Commerce Crush.”

Jasmine at 12-years-old said she had no idea how to play volleyball at the time and went into the tryouts completely blind to the sport.

“I tried it out and I had no idea what volleyball was,” Soto-Castro says, “I remember I was a small skinny girl that couldn’t serve a ball over (the net).”

Even though she had no clue what she was doing the coaches from the club taught her everything she knows now as a volleyball player.

“They really taught me who I am now as a volleyball player, they taught me how to pass, serve, set and that led me to the player that I am today.”

Soto-Castro has had a successful volleyball career so far through her six years of playing but she’s had some tough times throughout her journey including the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the pandemic cut off her sophomore year after coming off an undefeated streak in her freshman year, what hit her the most during this time was seeing her sister Stephanie miss out on her senior year.

“I was sad because, my sister was going to be a senior during my sophomore year and she didn’t have a season and I was really devastated,” Soto-Castro explained.

“We both agreed that we would play together at Schurr High School during her junior year but her season was cut because the coaches wouldn’t let her play because she was a transfer student.”

“The pandemic hit in her senior year and it really hit me like she didn’t have her senior year and I just felt how the pandemic stole her year and also the class of 2021.”

The chemistry you have with your teammates is important on the court, it leads to great accomplishments and even friendships off the court but the bond between Soto-Castro and her sisters, Stephanie & Evelyn, is a bond that a teammate can’t duplicate.

Jasmine speaks highly about her two sisters, she loves spending time with them and cherishes the little moments she makes with them. Making memories with her sisters is something she strives to do every time they get the chance to hang out with each other.

Soto-Castro doesn’t forget about where she and her family started. A little house in Southern California, but the size of the house she lived in didn’t matter. What mattered the most to Soto-Castro was the love and support shown by her parents when she was a young child.

“We started off living in a small house, I grew up with a loving mom, she was always there for me, my dad went to work every day to always support us and then growing up we slowly started building to where we are now,” Soto-Castro explained.

“My parents worked so hard to get where we are now,” she hopes that one day she’s able to repay her parents for everything they have done for her, “I just want to be able to give the world to my mom and dad.”

Her parents are both immigrants, her mother Evelia Castro comes from Guerrero, Mexico and her father Juan Soto comes from Guanajuato, Mexico.

It’s been a journey for Jasmine, an outstanding volleyball player and also a great humbling person to talk to.

Her goals and ambitions on the court are just as big as they are off, she has made some great friends throughout her life and also came across some teammates who are considered family.

She sets big goals for herself and encourages others to do so as well.

“Work hard and show others what you can do and don’t worry about what others say,” said Soto-Castro, “Just do you and always go big.”

When it comes to volleyball she has no fear, regardless of who she’s going against.

The fearless mindset she has shows on the court and even though she’s only 5 feet 4 inches that doesn’t stop her from showing why she’s one of the best volleyball players.

“I would love to say that just because I’m a short player doesn’t mean that I can’t slam a ball,” said Soto-Castro, “Every time I go against a tall girl it never scares me because I’ve played against like a hundred tall girls and it never scared me, they could be like six feet and it won’t matter to me.”

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About the Contributors
Michael Delgado
Michael Delgado, Editor in Chief
Michael Delgado is the Editor in Chief for Talon Marks. Outside of the newsroom, he enjoys listening to Hip Hop and R&B and hopes to work for Fox Sports in the near future.
Derrick Coleman
Derrick Coleman, Co-Multimedia Editor
Derrick Coleman is the Co-Multimedia Editor at Talon Marks. He was born in San Jose, Costa Rica, where he lived for 15 years before coming to the United States. His goal is to start his own photography business.
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