There isn’t a thing in this world that can stop Karina Camacho. An opposing soccer team, time overseas and even a pandemic could not stop her from doing what she enjoys most - giving back to the city of Tucson.
Camacho, 30, gives back to Tucson in countless ways, but now she’s giving back in the way that’s needed most during these dire times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Camacho is currently devoting her time as a frontline worker and Operating Room Nurse at Northwest Medical Center.
Camacho’s new role with Northwest comes after three years as an Active Duty Air Force member of the 60th Surgical Operations Squadron. Now, she has transitioned into the Air Force Reserves while simultaneously remaining active with FC Tucson and Northwest Medical Center. Most importantly, she remains resilient during these tumultuous times as her determination for soccer, nursing and military service is unwavering.
“I am just very grateful to be a part of this community and represent Tucson through the club, Air Force, and being a nurse,” said Camacho. “It feels good to give back to this local community with both coaching and nursing because to me, being a player, fan and member of the frontline goes hand in hand. It’s all about service to Tucson.”
Across all of her astounding accomplishments, Camacho has been known by numerous titles - Captain Camacho of the US Air Force, Coach Camacho on the soccer field, and Nurse Camacho at Northwest Medical Center. But before this all, she was best known in Tucson as #3 of FC Tucson’s Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) team. It was during the 2015 WPSL season that Karina first showed Tucson what she was made of while donned in the trademark black FC Tucson kit. Camacho’s strength and determination were regularly on display to the die-hard supporters at Kino Sports Complex. Camacho’s notoriety in the local soccer community grew so much that it reached an important figure of FC Tucson - the current USL League One men’s team head coach and her former coach at the University of Arizona, John Galas.
“Karina was a standout player at the University of Arizona. It is a great honor to have coached her,” said Galas. “There is no surprise she has accomplished so much and is such an active member of our Tucson community. She is a tremendous role model and I’m extremely proud to know her.”
Entering her fifth year as an FC Tucson player with over 10 years playing in the WPSL, Camacho recognizes her new role as a leader for her FC Tucson teammates. It is a role that the midfielder has perfectly transitioned due to her decorated military experience. With this experience in hand, Camacho has delved into another special way to give back to her beloved Old Pueblo, by coaching the next generation of Tucson’s soccer players. Her new coaching career has led to the appointment of soccer coach at Salpointe High School.
“I try to be on top of my game as a coach and to be a role model and mentor to kids. It’s a driving motivation for me to have girls see FC Tucson Women play so they can say ‘Hey maybe I can do something like that,” said Camacho.
Camacho’s passion for playing and coaching stood strong through her devoted military service.
“Each year through active duty I was able to participate in soccer at a certain level. It feels great to be connected with multiple Tucson communities and it provides a special sense of community to have been a coach to youth players and to later see them on the field with me at FC Tucson.”
Camacho’s spirit of service knows no bounds and as a result, unwell patients at Northwest, youth soccer players in Tucson, FC Tucson stars at Kino Sports Complex and courageous military members across the nation will continue to remain in her safe hands.
FC Tucson and the Tucson community is fortunate to have a hero like Karina Camacho from the frontlines to the sideline in 2020.