Facing adversity is nothing new for Rochester Lady Lancers goalkeeper Saundra Baron, both on the soccer field and off it. Baron’s toughness and positive outlook are both impressive qualities developed in her youth while surrounded by her family, her “rock.” That’s why Baron isn’t overly stressed about the Lady Lancers’ start this season.
“Obviously, I would love to be getting more wins,” Baron said. “But we’re a young team, and teams in this league are extremely strong. Girls have come back later in the season, and we don’t have our full repertoire of players. There’s still half of the season left, so there’s still time to turn it around!”
Soccer has always been central to Baron’s life, something that she attributes to her parents’ Caribbean heritage. Baron’s family shared a soccer goal with their next-door neighbors, and she and her three brothers spent many hours learning the game. Baron was originally a striker; however, she changed position to goalie (where she remained) when she tried out for the Rochester Junior Rhinos.
A pivotal moment in her soccer career came while she played for the Trinidad and Tobago National Team. In 2018, she competed in a World Cup qualifying game against the United States, one of the best women’s soccer teams in the world. Even though her team lost to the Americans, the game ended up working out for her.
“There were a few professional scouts there, and they were impressed with how I played,” Baron said. “So, I was able to get my first professional contract because of my performance.”
When not playing or training for the Lady Lancers, Baron keeps herself busy coaching youth soccer. She works with the Rochester City Soccer League, primarily coaching youth soccer teams and helping young players improve their soccer abilities. Baron credited Nicole Hercules, the woman who formed the Rochester City Soccer League, with helping her get in the door, and as the biggest driving force behind this diverse league that is open to all people at no cost.
“Working with the City Soccer League is really special for me,” Baron said. “It allows me to make an impression on children at a young age, and to instill a love of soccer. Also, the league is a melting pot of kids from many diversities and—as a Trinidadian—that’s really cool to see.”
Baron also takes care of her father, Joffre, with whom she currently lives. He has Alzheimer’s and requires regular doctor visits. Saundra usually takes him.
“My dad is very important to me; in some ways, he’s even more important than soccer,” Baron said. “There have been a couple of instances where I’ve had to turn down professional contracts because it meant I wouldn’t be able take care of my dad as often as I would like. My family means a lot to me, and taking care of my dad is something that I take very seriously.”
While Baron enjoys being a Lady Lancer, she is open to the possibility of another professional contract in her future, perhaps playing in Europe once again. In the meantime, she will have plenty of work to do, both with the Lady Lancers and with the Trinidad and Tobago national team which will compete in qualifying matches for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
Meet Soccer Star Saundra!
Born and Raised: New York & North Carolina
Heritage: Parents from Trinidad and Tobago.
Education: Coastal Carolina University, East Carolina University, & Durham University (England)
Played for: Rochester Junior Rhinos, regional NC team, Trinidad and Tobago National Team, East Carolina University Pirates, Durham University (England), Maccabi Hadera (Israel), & the Rochester Lady Lancers!
Memorable Moment: “It was quite the experience playing over in England. The people take soccer very seriously, but luckily, I do too, so I was able to keep up with the style of play.” Baron helped lead her Durham team to an English club championship!
Alter Ego: Substitute teacher