Most Viewed Stories
Plenty of local players in AWC women's soccer first recruiting class
Karina Cain, Cibola, 2013
Sarai Evans, Serrano (Calif.), 2009
Morgan Frank, Yuma Catholic, 2013
Jackie Hill, Yuma Catholic, 2012
Brandy Martinez, Kofa, 2006
Maria Moreno, Yuma High, 2006
Chelsea Perez, Cibola, 2013
Sara Rodriguez, Cibola, 2006
Carolyn Sosa, San Luis, 2011
After two years on the Arizona Western volleyball team, Carolyn Sosa thought her time at the school was coming to an end.
That changed in late February when the school announced it would be beginning women's soccer.
Sosa was among the first nine players introduced Wednesday as the first signees of the inaugural women's soccer team, which begins play in the fall.
The former San Luis goalie said she was beyond excited when she heard the news.
“When first I heard about, I didn't believe it because they were supposed to have a soccer team by the time I graduated from high school. I was excited and asking everybody just to make sure it was going to happen.
“Once I knew, I was done with volleyball. Soccer was what I really wanted to do. Don't get me wrong — I love volleyball and had a great two years with coach Jason (Smith), who's an amazing coach. But I really missed soccer.”
And she wasn't alone. Of the nine players introduced Wednesday, eight were from Yuma County with more on the way, said head coach Kenny Dale.
“There will be more for sure,” Dale said. “We have a lot that are just graduating from high school. But there's so many older players in the community because they've never had women's soccer. Some of these girls graduated in '06, '09, 2010.”
Dale said that Sosa — although younger than a lot of the current signees — will be the most valuable as a veteran, having played athletics already at the school.
“We're excited about Carolyn even though she's already been in the league two years, even though it's a different sport,” Dale said. “She knows how the training room works, she knows how the cafeteria works, how the dorms work. So she's like a veteran even though she hasn't played any soccer.”
Four of the signees graduated high school before this decade, and only three are current high school seniors. One of those is Yuma Catholic's Morgan Frank, a four-year starter for the Shamrocks. Frank had been planning to attend Arizona in the fall, but when she found out about AWC's plans in February, she made some quick adjustments.
“It's exciting because obviously it's the first time it's ever happened, and just having the opportunity to play close to home is awesome,” Frank said. “I had been dead set on the University of Arizona, and now we're good.”
Jackie Hill was a three-year starter for the Shamrocks, but she graduated last year and had been going to Arizona. That changed instantly and she said there wasn't a doubt about her plans for next school year.
“I didn't get to play as a freshman going into college, and now getting to play as a sophomore is exciting because I wanted to play sports in college,” Hill said. “It was hard because I made the decision last minute to not play college soccer and focus on school. It was hard because I played soccer for all this time, year-round, year-round, year-round. Stopping cold turkey was hard to get used to.
“Then I found out it's coming back in my hometown, and things are working out with the scholarship and my major. It kind of all fell into hand. It was exciting, a relief almost.”
The other current high school seniors recruited by Dale in this batch are Cibola's Karina Cain and Chelsea Perez. Sarai Evans graduated for Serrano (Calif.) in 2009 and is the only non-Yuma County player in the group so far. Three of the local players graduated in 2006: Kofa's Brandy Martinez, Yuma High's Maria Moreno and Sara Rodriguez of Cibola.
Even though there aren't enough players for a starting lineup yet, Sosa said she is pumped for next year.
“I really think we're going to have a really good team. Most of the girls are older than me, some of the girls that are seniors now I played against in high school so we know how each other plays. It won't be a lack of communication — we're going to have a really good team.”