Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Surrounded by family and friends, Madera South’s Makayla Martinez signs her National Letter of Intent to play soccer at York College.
After good friend Junior Segura signed his National Letter of Intent to run track at York College in Nebraska, Madera South girls soccer player Makayla Martinez decided to look into the school.
She and the school found a mutual interest and Martinez signed her National Letter of Intent to play soccer at the school in the fall.
“When Junior got his scholarship, I started looking into the school,” Martinez said. “I was in class, I filled out a recruiting form online. The coach texted me back within five minutes. From there, we started talking. I’ve been working with him to see how the program is run. He gave me an offer about a week later.”
Martinez played primarily goalkeeper for the Stallions in the past four seasons, but wanted a challenge this year and played defensive halfback, as well.
“Most likely, I’m going to be playing defense,” she said.
Another reason to choose York was another Madera South connection — Cassandra Martinez, a junior goalkeeper.
“She can show me the program,” Makayla said. “She’s going to help. She will be over there and can show me the ropes on how things are done.”
Before York came along, Martinez wasn’t sure where the next step would take her. If anything, she may have gone to a junior college, but really wanted to play at a four-year college. She was set to go to Fresno State, but then the offers started rolling in.
“I didn’t have a dream school,” she said. “It was one of those if I got an offer, that’s where I would go. I had a few junior colleges looking at me. I always wanted to go to a university to get a college experience. When I applied for York and they got back to me, it was a perfect situation for me. If I got another offer across the country, I was still going to take it. You have to make sure you get paid for college and get your education paid for. When they gave me the offer, I was ready to go.”
Martinez is going to school to become a pharmacist and looks at playing soccer on scholarship is a way to help pay for a great opportunity.
In addition to Segura, basketball player Hakeem Primes also signed with York College, who also has another Madera connection in softball coach Roni Miller, a former Madera Coyote softball player.
“It’s definitely good to have support there,” Martinez said. “If we have any problems, we can always go to each other’s dorms or hang out so we’re not a lone wolf. That’s the benefit of having classmates there. It will help us motivate each other to keep going.”
Throughout the recruiting process, Martinez’s parents have been very supportive, even though she chose a college halfway across the country.
“They just wanted the best option for me and the school the offered the most,” she said. “York was one of those schools. I picked York because I have friends going there and there is someone in the background that can help me out. They were supportive of my decision.”
However, one of the things Martinez confesses she is not ready for are the Midwest winters.
“I hope I’m ready for the cold conditions,” she said. “I’m going to have to buy some long sleeves, some jackets and snow boots. I need to get used to that weather real fast.”
In spite of that, Martinez is ready for her new chapter at York College.
“Its like a dream come true,” she said. “Every athlete wants to sign and get a scholarship. It’s like your special moment. The past four years of playing have paid off. It’s kind of exciting.”