Cardinal Mooney grad playing soccer in Puerto Rico calls quakes ‘unpredictable’

Local News

Less than 12 hours after Julie Vazquez arrived in Puerto Rico, earthquakes started hitting the island

MAYAGUEZ, Puerto Rico (WKBN) – A woman from the Youngstown area is in Puerto Rico after a series of earthquakes rocked the territory.

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake in Puerto Rico hit before dawn Tuesday, killing a 77-year-old man. It was the largest quake yet over the past two days.

Julie Vazquez arrived in Puerto Rico Sunday evening. The Cardinal Mooney graduate went down to play professional soccer with Puerto Rico Sol.

Now she’s preparing for the chance of evacuation.

“I’m scared, I’m not going to lie,” she said. “I’m not going to try and play it off.”

Less than 12 hours after she arrived in Puerto Rico, earthquakes started hitting the island.

She was far enough away from the Monday morning quakes so she didn’t feel them. But come 4 a.m. Tuesday, it was a different story.

“When they woke me up at 4 a.m., I was freaking out a little bit,” Vazquez said. “I kind of went into fight-or-flight mode.”

She said she grabbed her phone and backpack, ready to leave as soon as she needed to.

The center mid-field played for the University of Pittsburgh before leaving for Puerto Rico.

“Me, all of a sudden, leaving the house to play professionally in Puerto Rico for five months and then right off the bat, all these earthquakes,” Vazquez said.

She’s stayed in close contact with her family. Her mother, Mary Ellen, said she’s trying to remain calm.

“When I get a chance to communicate with her, I’m just trying to tell her that I’m confident that everything is going to turn out OK and that she should just do the best she can in the situation she’s in.”

But Vazquez is still her little girl.

“Even though she’s 23, you still feel like you want to protect them.”

Vazquez is roughly 30 miles from some of the major damage but in her city of Mayaguez, she has noticed some damage.

“Multiple structures are cracked, like bridges and stuff. The poles are cracked,” she said.

Vazquez said she doesn’t know what to expect.

“These earthquakes are unpredictable, the magnitude is unpredictable. We just have to be as prepared as possible at this point.”

She’s hoping to hear from her coaches on what the next steps are. If she has to evacuate the area, she does have family in a safer area off of the island.

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