New soccer program at AWC includes 8 local prep stars

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                </div>It has been 14 years since Arizona Western College in Yuma added a new sport to its offerings.  But women’s soccer has finally been put on the list, providing new […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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It has been 14 years since Arizona Western College in Yuma added a new sport to its offerings.  But women’s soccer has finally been put on the list, providing new opportunities for high school players – particularly those in that part of the state – who want to continue playing in college.

And opportunities for those who have been out of the prep game for awhile.

Four of the nine players who recently signed letters of intent to participate in the new program have been out of high school for several years.  They will provide the ‘senior leadership’ for this inaugural year, which will begin in the fall.

All but one of the group are from the Yuma area, and a couple have even put in some years at the community college, but playing a different sport.  Sarai Evans, the lone import, has also been attending college.  The 2009 high school graduate attended Chaffey College in California and will be coming to AWC to finish her Associate’s degree in Business Management.

She would be the team’s logical choice if they decide they need an ‘enforcer’ on the field…she wants to become a sheriff, or maybe work her way onto a SWAT team.

Those from Arizona include three players who graduated from high school in 2006.  Brandy Martinez played center-midfield at Kofa High School and was a First Team All-Gila Valley Region selection as a senior; Maria Moreno, who played at Yuma High School, was a forward in her freshman season and moved to midfield for her final three years; and Sara Rodriguez was a midfielder and forward at Cibola High School.  Moreno attended AWC from 2007 to 2009, but will return now to continue working toward her Associate’s degree.

Cibola High will be well represented in the new program.  In addition to Rodriguez, Karina Cain and Chelsea Perez will be joining after they graduate later this month.

Cain has been a stand-out midfielder for the Raiders, where she was a three-time First Team All-GVR selection and was an All-State Division I honorable mention as a senior when she recorded 14 goals and 24 assists.  Perez is a versatile addition to the roster.  She played left-midfielder during her first two years at Cibola and then moved to a defender role her junior and senior years – and also played some sweeper this year, when she was named to the First Team All-Region.

Rounding out the first signing class are Carolyn Sosa, who graduated in 2011; Jaclyn Hill from the class of 2012; and Morgan Frank, who just finished up her prep career.

Sosa, who was a three-year starting goal keeper at San Luis High School, has been playing libero for the AWC volleyball team for the past two years, so she will already have name recognition among Matador fans.  As a prep player, she was a First Team All-GVR selection her last three years and was named the region Player of the Year her junior year when she notched four shutouts and 67 saves on the season.

Hill played multiple positions during her high school career at Yuma Catholic, but saw the majority of time in the forward/striker spot.  She earned All-Region honors as a senior, when she scored 23 goals in leading the Shamrocks to a 16-win season.

Frank is a former teammate of Hill at Yuma Catholic and also moved around the field, playing midfield her first two years and then adding the front line as a junior and senior.  She was an All-Region selection three years and collected 55 goals during her four years.

This first group of players was selected in a three-week open tryout held by Kenny Dale, who will be the women’s head coach.  “I never expected this kind of interest or talent to show up right out of the gate,” he said after the tryouts.  “These nine student-athletes are a symbol for what extra academic opportunities can be had by just following up on your dream.

“And they’re just the start of the roster we expect to have this coming fall.”

(Photo: AWC Athletics)