Zubieta was going to host this Sunday one of the most attractive possible duels of the First Iberdrola, a pulse between the two first classified, Real Sociedad and Barcelona, but COVID-19 and the positives in the realistic group have not made it possible at the moment. Among the different details that we may have seen there is one that stands out above all: the goalkeeper. Sandra Paos beats Elene Lete in the race for Zamora, while the blue and white goalkeeper dominates the statistics of clean sheets so far this season.
Elene Lete (Zumarraga, 2002) began playing soccer in the courtyard of Colegio La Salle Legazpi, where, curiously, she was a striker. It was playing at Urola, where he spent five years, when he began his career under the sticks. “It was by chance, because we were left without a goalkeeper and it was my turn,” confesses the protagonist. “The goalkeeping coach (Txema Bentez) told me that I had the qualities to be a good goalkeeper and in a Christmas tournament, Real noticed me,” he stresses. At that time he was 13 years old and had a promising career ahead of him.. “I’ve been a member of Real since I was little, so being able to play here and go from the academy to the first team is a dream in which I’m still immersed,” she highlights.
Modeled in Zubieta
If anyone has closely followed Lete’s evolution, it is Ander Ruiz de Mitxelena, who was his goalkeeping coach from his arrival in Zubieta until he joined the first team. “She is a goalkeeper who stands out for her physique, her presence and her structure. She has more wingspan than height and very long arms that allow her to go high and perform great stretches,” he says. “Her deficit has always been her footwork. She has improved a lot, but she still doesn’t risk too much and prefers to rely on a teammate to get the ball played,” she adds.
In addition to her performance and the room for improvement that she still has, Ander highlights the evolution that Elene has had both on and off the field in the last year. “I don’t think she even imagined a progression like the one she’s having. The support of Natalia (Arroyo) and her teammates is being essential for her to feel confident. She looks very integrated into the squad,” highlights who now works of coach of goalkeeper in the Spanish women’s team U23.
From third goalkeeper to starter
Elene debut with the first team txuri urdin on May 30, 2021 against Santa Teresa -however, it was the only game she played-, circumstances have meant that this season she ended up being the first goalkeeper for Natalia Arroyo. “With the departure of Mariasun (to Athletic Club) we thought that the goalkeeper was well covered with Elene (Lete), Adriana (Nanclares) and Olatz (Santana). The competition, injuries and availability have made Elene our first goalkeeper and the performance and work have been remarkable”, comments the coach. “He has been solvent in complicated scenarios, transmitting calm and serenity to the team, stopping a lot and achieving many clean sheets. But the best thing, without a doubt, is the desire he has to continue growing,” he stresses.
Natalia’s arrival at Real Sociedad brought with it a revolution both in the squad and in the staff coach, changing this season to the goalkeeping coach, with Beat Etxebeste taking over from Ander. “Ander’s work was very good, capturing two goalkeepers from the same generation and technifying them until they were brought into the first team. Now Beat continues with that work so that the team has a well-covered goalkeeper,” he says.
Elene grew up admiring Sandra Paos and Mariasun Quiones, from whom she now takes over as the Real Sociedad goalkeeper. “I have had the opportunity to see her grow, mature, improve and evolve both in sports and professionally. She is a calm person, hard-working and eager to learn. She has great size and in one on one is very difficult to beat. experience, but this year he is taking a step forward thanks to the perseverance he has and the desire he puts into it”, says Mariasun, today an Athletic Club goalkeeper.
As happened in his day to Quiones with Cristina Cornejo, Sokoa Azkarate or Eli Sarasola, Elene would like her learning to serve her to end up being a reference for future realist generations. “There’s still a long way to go for that,” he sighs. “I work to be better every day. I know my strengths and weaknesses, so I know what I have to exploit and what I need to improve,” highlights a Lete who he has a knack for touching the crossbar of the goal that he defends every time he goes out onto the field or after his team scores a goal.
A Real that points to Europe
Real’s season is being outstanding, reaching Matchday 18 in second position and signing a streak of nine games without winning (and eight wins). However, he has not lost since he did it against Barcelona on October 31, 2021 by 8-1. “We know that they are a tough rival, but we really want to change the result they gave us there. At home, and with the confidence we have from the latest results, we hope to be able to surprise,” he says. Elene, motivated by the challenge of facing the highest scoring team in the League (98 goals in 17 games). “It’s a nice challenge for any goalkeeper. I’ll have more work to do, but also more opportunities to make good saves,” he says. “I’m not afraid of any Barcelona player. I train every day with high-level players and I know what it’s like to have them in front of me,” he adds.
One of the great culprits of the realistic success is Elene, who he has managed to keep a clean sheet in nine of the eleven games he has played this season: Athletic Club (2), Sevilla, Real Madrid, Villarreal, Atltico de Madrid, UDG Tenerife, Alavs and Valencia. He has only conceded three goals so far: Oriana Altuve (Valencia), Ada Esteve (Eibar) and Arola Aparicio (Eibar). “These are data that, without a doubt, motivate me. From not playing practically at all to Zamora fighting with Sandra Paos and being able to help the team without conceding goals is amazing”, resolves a Lete who confesses his knack for touching the crossbar of the goalkeeper that he defends both when he goes out onto the field and when his team scores.
The goalkeeper, 173 centimeters tall, aims high when it comes to talking about goals this season: qualify for the Champions League with Barcelona and play in the U20 World Cup with the Spanish team. “It was a dream and it has become a goal. We are going step by step because it has not yet been achieved, but we are going to fight to get there,” he says. “The selection is an illusion and a prize for any footballer. This season, knowing that there is a World Cup in the summer, much more special”, highlights who has been international in categories Sub’17, Sub’19 and Sub’20.
The Keeper of Realist Dreams Discusses the Secret to Her Team’s Success. “The key is the confidence we have in ourselves, in Natalia and in the staff. We are very fighters, we go for everything and we are a gang that we all go together”, says the Real goalkeeper, the wall of the League.