Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera Coyotes soccer player Mia Alvarez signs her National Letter of Intent for Ursuline College in front of family and friends. With her are, from left, Ramiro Alvarez, Myra Alvarez and Isabella Alvarez.
Madera Coyotes girls soccer standout midfielder Mia Alvarez will follow her teammate to Pepper Pike, Ohio to play soccer.
Alvarez signed her National Letter of Intent to play soccer at Ursuline College and will play with teammate Yvette Zuniga, who helped her get noticed by the coach.
“I feel like Yvette helped me get noticed by the coach over there,” Alvarez said. “I really liked the idea of playing soccer with one of my teammates because it would be more comfortable with the transition. She had a big part in getting me there.”
On the recruiting trail, Ursuline’s coach tried to contact Zuniga, but dialed up Madera Coyote girls soccer coach Cameron Hill, instead.
“He started talking to him about any other players who aren’t committed yet,” Alvarez said. “He brought up my name and he said Yvette told him about me. That conversation started going, then he wanted to talk to me and now, we’re here.”
Alvarez had other offers to schools, including Alabama A&M, but she said it was too far for her.
“It was hot and too far for me to go,” Alvarez said. “Yvette made it way easier to sign there.”
Her back-up plan was to go to Fresno City College to play soccer.
“There was some worry,” she said. “That wouldn’t have been bad because they are a good team and get a lot of attention. I was really excited about going to a four-year and get it paid for.”
Alvarez knew she would play soccer in college, but had to wait for the right time.
“I’m really proud of myself,” she said. “I knew it would come, but I didn’t know when. It’s the day of and it’s completely overwhelming because I’m going on the other side of the country. It’s exciting.”
By signing her National Letter of Intent, the stress of where she was going to play for the next few years is off her shoulders.
“I’m getting a majoring of my education paid for and I’m playing soccer,” she said. “I’m going to be busy, but I’m going to enjoy living over there. It’s different.”
Playing college in soccer was a thought for Alvarez when she began play at Madera on the varsity squad as a freshman.
“I felt like I was at the level I should be to continue to play,” she said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. It makes me happy to be able to play.”
She was an All-Madera Tribune girls soccer recipient in three seasons, including earning the Most Valuable Player award her junior season.
“I think I’m going to look back at how well I did at times, but also how much better I should have done,” Alvarez said. “College will be a different game. I’m sure I need to stay with their momentum and not focus on what happened here.”
Alvarez said she will most likely play midfield at Ursuline.
“He said he likes to sub a lot so I will get some playing time,” she said.
Although late to the recruiting trail, Alvarez got a call in May to join Ursuline.
“A week later, I got the scholarship offer,” she said. “I told him I wanted to visit. I went there and the next day, I told him I accepted the offer. It was all within a month. It was pretty quick.”
In the end, Alvarez is proud of what she has accomplished at Madera and looks forward to playing at the next level.
“It’s amazing to be able to continue my soccer career at another level,” she said. “Hopefully, I will continue it out of college and develop it to pro. That’s what I always wanted to do since I was little. It’s exciting and I can’t wait.”