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AWC holds informational meeting about start of women's soccer program
There was the senior about to graduate. There was the former player, currently enrolled at the school, excited for the chance to play again. There was the high school sophomore excited about the future.
And there were about 100 more as well.
The Arizona Western women's soccer team had an information meeting Monday ahead of its inaugural season, which begins in August.
The meeting touched on requirements prospective players would need to meet and ended with a question and answer session with women's coach Kenny Dale — who will continue in his duties of coaching the men's team as well.
“I was a little concerned we'd overthrow the room, but it turned out to be perfect,” Dale said. “I was really pleased with the turnout.”
Tryouts for the team begin Monday, and there will be four of them, with the remaining three on March 13, March 18 and March 20. All will run from 7 to 9 p.m. at the AWC soccer field.
The room was filled with players excited for the new program. Gila Ridge sophomore forward Carolyn Durfee said she thinks the new team — which will have her Hawks coach, Jon Gronbach, likely serve as goalkeeper coach — will increase Yuma's soccer status across the state.
“I was excited because now I don't have to look to go off to a big university for my first two years,” Durfee said. “It's pretty scary, and you're not likely to make the team.”
For her Gila Ridge teammate, senior midfielder Jodi Carlson, the timing was perfect. She was about to begin college in the fall and, with her family possibly moving, she was likely going to stay at AWC. Now, she can stay and play soccer.
“I was going to stay at AWC, then when I heard they were going to have a soccer program for the women I was so excited,” Carlson said. “It gave me a chance to play and stay in Yuma, so I was excited.”
Jocelyn Lopez graduated from Cibola in 2008 after having played for the Raiders. She's in her second year at AWC.
“I was pretty excited because I've wanted to play soccer for a while,” Lopez said. “I haven't played soccer in awhile. Now this is a new opportunity for us and I think it's pretty cool. Now you don't have to go out of the city.”
It wasn't just players. Yuma Catholic coach Jesus Quintana — whose daughters played for him with the Shamrocks — attended the meeting as well.
“I think it's an exciting opportunity for Yuma,” Quintana said. “Some girls that can't, or maybe feel a little hesitant to leave home after the last year of high school, I think it's exciting to have the opportunity to continue to compete at the college level.”