Soccer champs kicking it to new fields of dreams

After a record-breaking 2018 season that culminated with the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national trophy, 2019 has continued to shine brightly for Richland’s women soccer team.

Ten sophomores from the championship-winning team have committed to furthering their collegiate soccer careers on scholarships at four-year universities across the country.

It was a bittersweet moment for head coach Scott Toups. He expressed pride and lauded the contributions of the departing players after the scintillating season last year.

“It’s a huge blow for us to lose the caliber of players that we’re losing. But you know what? It looks good for us to have all these girls transfer and it’s helping us bring in new girls when they see that they can come to Richland and then have an opportunity to go out of state and play somewhere else,” Toups said. “It’s a big attraction to a lot of those girls. And so, it has helped us. For sure, a lot of those players are going to be missed next year.”

Asia Revely, left, Mia DeLeon, Dynastee Cain, Miranda Ibarra, Alexis Lawrence, Cloe Serino, Claudia Pedroza and Aliyah Mora at signing day on March 21. Ten of the starting 11 players from last year’s national championship team have transferred to universities.

Asia Revely, left, Mia DeLeon, Dynastee Cain, Miranda Ibarra, Alexis Lawrence, Cloe Serino, Claudia Pedroza and Aliyah Mora at signing day on March 21. Ten of the starting 11 players from last year’s national championship team have transferred to universities.

Goalkeeper Dynastee Cain committed to play at Texas A&M International, Laredo. She transferred to Richland last year from El Paso and immediately made her mark as a pivotal unit of the squad. Her stellar performances earned her Defensive MVP of the NJCAA tournament and she was named to the All-American second team for her contributions throughout the year.

Miranda “Frankie” Ibarra and Claudia Pedroza are transferring to Cincinnati Christian University in Ohio. Both players were part of the nucleus that led the team to victory last year. Ibarra finished the season as the NJCAA tournament MVP and was named to the All-American second team while Pedroza finished the season with 12 goals and eight assists in 21 games for the Thunderducks.

Both players pinpointed Cincinnati Christian University’s head coach Logan Langseth as the crucial factor in their decision.

“I love the coach. He understood me and the way that he talked to me, I can tell that he is going to be a great coach. And I can’t wait to work with him and see what I can learn and do with this team,” Pedroza said.

“It’s in Cincinnati so it’s a pretty big city. It’s away from home, so I get to get away for a while. And also, the coach, he seems like a pretty good guy and they have a pretty good program in education, which is what I’m doing,” Ibarra said.

Another key player departing Richland is Asia Revely. She joined the Richland team in 2016. That year, she scored 10 goals and added seven assists in 17 games and then gave birth to a baby boy. In 2017, Revely suffered an ACL injury that ruled her out for the season. She returned to the squad in 2018 and came out with guns blazing. Her 19 goals and seven assists caught the attention of the nation. She finished the year in the All-American first team.

Revely will join Eastern New Mexico University next season after a superlative sophomore year for the Thunderducks.

“From the things I’ve overcome, it means a lot for me to go on to the next level,” Revely said about her move to New Mexico. “Well, I want to win another ring.”

Other members of the squad who are transferring are Mia DeLeon and Vanessa Martinez. They have committed to Texas A&M University-Texarkana. Aliyah Mora and Cindy Gomez have committed to Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins.

Alexis Lawrence is going to St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. Eva Mulligan is going to Texas Woman’s University in Denton and Cloe Serino is going to East Central University in Ada, Okla.

“I think it speaks well of our program and how well we did and how good they are, individually. I think it says a lot about Vinson [Brown], who recruited some of these girls, especially the transfers that came in [last] year,” Toups said.

“Of our starting 11 [lineup], 10 of the girls that started the games for us are now transferring to another college.”