Eight Yuma County natives, one southern California native provide foundation for AWC’s newest sport
Yuma, Arizona – April 10, 2013 – Arizona Western College is proud to announce that nine student-athletes have signed their official letters of intent to attend Arizona Western College and play women’s soccer for the Lady Matadors’ first-ever women’s soccer team this coming fall. Eight of the nine student-athletes are from Yuma County, representing five of the area’s high schools; while the other hails from San Bernardino County in southern California. Karina Cain, Sarai Evans, Morgan Frank, Jaclyn Hill, Brandy Martinez, Maria Moreno, Chelsea Perez, and Sara Rodriguez will all don the cardinal & gold of a Matador sport for the first time, while former Matador Volleyball player Carolyn Sosa will play soccer for AWC while continuing her four-year education at the school. The announcements were made this afternoon at a press conference on the AWC main campus.
After the announcement by AWC in late February that women’s soccer would be the first sport added by the college since 1999, the buzz has been non-stop in the Yuma-area soccer community about the addition. The first thing that AWC Women’s Head Soccer Coach Kenny Dale did after the announcement was hold an organizational meeting at the college, which was attended by over 100 people. He then held a series of open tryouts over a three-week period, and came away ecstatic at not only the level of overall interest but also the existing number of college-level talent currently in the area. “With all of the calls & e-mails over the past couple of years that (AWC Athletic Director) Jerry Smith & I have received about women’s soccer, I was certainly optimistic that those people would come forward once we made women’s soccer a reality,” said Dale. “With that said, though, I never expected this kind of interest or talent to show up right out of the gate. 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.”
The nine student-athletes that have signed on to play for the Matadors this season are:
Karina Cain, Cibola High School Class of 2013: expected to graduate in May from CHS in the top 10% of her academic class. Spent four years as an integral part of the Lady Raiders’ varsity soccer team. Was named the team’s Rookie of the Year as a freshman after establishing herself as a star midfielder-a role she would fill all four years for CHS. Also earned 1st Team All-Gila Valley Region honors for the first time that year-a feat she would repeat as a junior and senior (as well as earning 2nd Team All-GVR honors as a sophomore). Her senior season was Cain’s finest hour, since her 14 goals and 24 assists for the Lady Raiders this past season earned her not only the CHS Most Valuable Player Award and the All-Rotary Club Team, but Cain was also named Arizona All-State Division I Honorable Mention last month. Has been on Dale’s ‘radar’ ever since earning the Top Player Award during Dale’s Matador Soccer Camp all the way back in 2006.
Sarai Evans, Serrano High School (CA) Class of 2009: graduated in 2009 from Serrano High School in Phelan, California (in San Bernardino County near Victorville). By the time Evans donned a jersey for the Lady Diamondbacks, she had already been playing for elite travel teams all over southern California for eight years. Was a four-year member of the SHS varsity soccer team, playing defender and midfield throughout most of her high school career. Attended Chaffey College in California after high school, becoming an honors student and becoming the PTK Honor Society’s Officer of Finance and then Vice President along the way. Will finish her Associate’s Degree in Business Management at AWC, and plans to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Business & Accounting. Eventually wants to be a sheriff and possible SWAT Team member.
Morgan Frank, Yuma Catholic High School Class of 2013: expected to graduate in May from YCHS after spending all four high school years as a member of the Lady Shamrocks’ varsity soccer team. Like her fellow Matador signee Jaclyn Hill, Frank was very versatile playing for the Shamrocks, playing defense and midfield as a freshman and sophomore, then playing on the frontline and midfield throughout her junior and senior seasons. Scored a total of 55 goals during her four years at YCHS (an average of 14 goals per season), and was named All-Gila Valley Region after her sophomore, junior & senior seasons. Versatility also extended to other playing surfaces, since she ran cross country & track as a freshman; played volleyball and ran track as a sophomore, and was a YCHS cheerleader during her final two years-all while maintaining her frontline status in soccer. Also played on Arizona ODP Regional team as a freshman & sophomore.
Jaclyn Hill, Yuma Catholic High School Class of 2012: graduated in 2012 with honors and a 3.7 cumulative grade point average from YCHS, was a 3-year member of the National Honor Society and recognized as a scholar-athlete all four years. Was a four-year member of the Lady Shamrocks’ varsity soccer team, and-as Hill put it herself, “played all around the field but focused on being a forward/striker”. Averaged four goals per season in her first three years, but exploded for 23 goals and 3 assists in leading the Shamrocks to a 16-win season as a senior, and winning the team’s ‘Golden Boot Award’ because of it. Earned All-Gila Valley Region honors as a senior. Was also a four-year varsity member of the Shamrocks’ cross country and track teams, becoming the state champion in the 400M & the state runner-up in the 200M as a senior. Three-year teammate of fellow Matador Soccer signee Morgan Frank. Attended the University of Arizona for one semester.
Brandy Martinez, Kofa High School Class of 2006: a 2006 Kofa High graduate who played four years on the Lady Kings’ varsity soccer team, playing center-midfield during her entire high school career. Led the Lady Kings to the 5A Gila Valley Region Semifinals as a senior, scoring the Kings’ lone goal in her final match. Was named the team’s Defender of the Year as a sophomore; the Varsity Player of the Year as a junior; and the team’s Most Valuable Player as well as 1st Team All-Gila Valley Region honors during her senior season. Plans to enter the nursing program at AWC.
Maria Moreno, Yuma High School Class of 2006: graduated in 2006 with honors and a 3.5 cumulative grade point average from YHS. Was a four-year member of the Lady Crims’ varsity soccer team, playing forward as a freshman, and moving to midfielder for her final three years. Earned team Most Valuable Player honors one season, and was named Most Improved Player on the team in two of her four seasons. Attended AWC from 2007 until 2009, and will now continue to work towards an Associate’s Degree in Administration. Has also volunteered for the SHINE Program for two years, which teaches area youth about the fundamentals of playing sports while promoting good sportsmanship, discipline, team spirit and strong moral character.
Chelsea Perez, Cibola High School Class of 2013: expected to graduate from Cibola High School next month after maintaining a 3.4 cumulative grade point average throughout her four-year high school career. Was a four-year member of the Lady Raiders’ varsity soccer team, playing left-midfield during her first two years, then sliding to the backline to play defender during her junior and senior seasons. Added the role of sweeper this past season. Earned 1st Team All-Gila Valley Region honors this past February, and also earned the Team Sportsmanship Award.
Sara Rodriguez, Cibola High School Class of 2006: graduated in 2006 from Cibola High School after spending all four years of high school on the Lady Raiders’ varsity girls’ soccer team. Was a stalwart for the Lady Raiders, playing both midfielder and forward during her time, and was their top scorer as a junior. Rodriguez earned team Most Valuable Player honors, and helped lead the Lady Raiders to the Arizona 5A State Tournament as a senior. As soon as she was done with soccer at CHS, picked up the glove and played shortstop for Cibola Softball (under former Matador alum Shelly Baumann).
Carolyn Sosa, San Luis High School Class of 2011: easily the most recognizable face to Matador fans, since after graduating from San Luis High School in the spring of 2011, came to AWC to play volleyball, and worked her way into a starting role as Libero for Jason Smith’s Lady Matadors’ Volleyball team the past two years. While she was a vital cog in the Lady Mats’ march to their first Region I Championship since 2009 this past October (played in 13 matches; 113 digs on the backline), Sidewinders’ fans remember her even more for being a three-year starting goalkeeper of the SLHS girls’ soccer team. Helped lead the Lady Sidewinders to their first-ever Gila Valley Region title and berth in the Arizona State 5A Division I Soccer Tournament in 2010. Had four shutouts and recorded 67 saves during that junior season that saw her earn GVR Player of the Year honors. Was also a 1st Team All-GVR selection as a sophomore, junior and senior.
Dale added that there will be future organizational meetings & tryouts in the immediate future, and those that are interested in becoming a member of the AWC Women’s Soccer team should contact Dale either by phone at (928) 317-7600; or by e-mail at email@example.com.