The Aztecs add eight newcomers for the 2021 season
Photo: Sarah Funk via everipedia.org
November 14, 2020 (San Diego) - Mike Friesen, San Diego State head women’s soccer coach, announced the signing of National Letters of Intent from eight high school seniors--including one from Grossmont High and Poway High--who will begin competing for Aztecs in the 2021-22 school year. The announcement was made Friday.
The eight future Aztecs are Carlin Blake, Denise Castro, Dani Chavira, Trinity Coker, Sarah Funk, Nicholette Palomo, Hope Paredes and Jenna West.
A 5-4 midfielder, Blake will graduate in 2021 from Blue Valley Southwest High School in Overland Park, Kan. For her club soccer, she played for Sporting Blue Valley SC and competed in the 2019 U17 US Soccer DA playoffs. In 2017, she was invited to the U.S. Soccer Training Center 2003 in both Kansas City, Kan., and Columbia, Mo. She took part in the 2016 Region II ODP Holdover Camp, was at the 2015 and 2016 Rush Select National Team Camp and competed for the team in both years. In addition, she competed for the Kansas 2002 State ODP Team in 2015.
Castro, a 5-8 midfielder, will graduate from San Ysidro (Calif.) High School in 2021. She has competed for Albion SC from 15U to 18U over the past four years as well as on the international stage as a member of the CONCACAF Girls’ U15 Mexican Women’s National Team. With the Mexican National Team, she has traveled to Portugal, Italy and Mexico City to play friendlies against the USA, Russia, Portugal, North Korea, Canada, Ghana and Spain. As a 15-year old member of Mexico’s U17 National Team, she played friendlies against the USA, Columbia, and England which enabled her to be part of the U17 World Cup. Her team reached the final of the 2019 U17 World Cup, with Castro scoring in the 29th minute of a 2-1 loss to Spain.
Chavira is a 5-2 midfielder, who will graduate from Eastlake High School in Chula Vista, Calif., in 2021. A three-year letterwinner, whose team has won the Mesa League championship in each of the last three years, she was a member of the 2018 CIF San Diego Section Open Division championship squad in her freshman campaign, defeating Steele Canyon 3-2 in a shootout. Chavira and her teammates returned to the CIF San Diego Section Open Division championship game in 2019, but fell to Steele Canyon in a shootout 4-1 and in 2020 Eastlake advanced to the Open Division semifinal round and Chavira was named a first-team All-Mesa League performer. In the 2018-19 US Youth Soccer’s U18 Girls National League, she competed for ECNL Rebel G2001 Elite Marquez, and played alongside future Aztecs teammates Emma-Gaines Ramos and Angelina Espinal.
Coker is currently attending Poway (Calif.) High School and will graduate in 2021. The 5-9 defender earned two letters with the Titans. She was twice named an All-Palomar League first-team performer, following her freshman and sophomore campaigns, was All-CIF as a freshman, and as a sophomore was the league’s Offensive Player of the Year. In addition, she earned the Varsity Athletic Award at Poway High in each of her two seasons of competition.
Funk, a 5-8 striker who can play multiple positions, will graduate in 2021 from Grossmont High School in El Cajon, Calif. She did not play soccer for Grossmont High, but did compete in basketball and track and field. Her soccer experience includes, while competing for San Diego Surf, an invitation to the US Soccer’s G2003 SoCal YNT Training Center ID Camp in Carson, Calif., and inclusion on the ODP Regional Team. In 2017, she was one of 36 players from across the country to be members of the U.S U15 Girls National Team. Last year, Funk and her Surf teammates played for the U.S. Soccer Girls Development Academy’s U18/U19 Girls Academy Championship. As part of the CalSouth ODP 2016 Winter player pool, she competed in the 2017 Region IV ODP Championships. For Grossmont High, she ran everything from the 100-to-400 meters, including relays, and never finished lower than second place in any race, while qualifying for CIF Championships.
Palomo is a 5-3 forward/midfielder who will graduate in 2021 from Gahr High School in Cerritos, Calif. She is a three-year letterwinner who enjoyed a standout junior season. Last season, she led her squad with 27 goals, which was over 55 percent of the team’s overall production, leading the squad to the second round of the CIF Championship. It was the school’s first trip to the postseason in 18 years and for her efforts Palomo was named Player of the Year and a first-team performer. Her club experience is with Slammers FC ECNL 03 which won the 2019-20 Southwest Championship. In addition, Palomo has played with the Mexican Olympic team on multiple occasions.
Paredes, a 5-4 midfielder/defender, who will graduate in 2021 from Portola High School in Irvine, Calif., earned the team’s 2017 Offensive Player of the Year for the one season she competed in soccer for the school, and also played on the basketball team in 2018. From 2017-19, she played club soccer for San Diego Surf where she competed in the 2019 US Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) National Championship finals, won the 2018 Surf Cup championship and reached the finals of the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) National Championship finals. In 2017 her teams won the Manchester City U19 Gold Division, Region IV Olympic Development Program (ODP) 2002 championship, and reached the quarterfinals of the ECNL playoffs. Competing for Arsenal FC in both 2015 and 2016, her teams were the champions of the 2015 Disney Junior Soccer Showcase and 2016 Crossfire Challenge College Showcase U16. In addition, as a member of Las Vegas’ FC Warriors, she competed with the 2014 & 2015 Nevada ODP 2002 teams and in each of those years reached the Nevada State Cup championship game, earning the title in 2014.
West comes to The Mesa from Clayton Valley Charter High School in Concord, Calif. The 5-3 center back has been a first-team All-Diablo League performer in each of her first three seasons, and has garnered All-North Coast Section Honorable Mention designation as well. The team’s MVP in each of her three seasons, she has added team captain for the past two years to her resume. Her club experience over the past four years is extensive. She has competed for Mustang ECNL, where she was a team captain, a three-year member of the ENCL All-Northwest Conference Team (2017-19), and was twice the ECNL Northwest “player to watch.” From 2017-20 she was named one of Top Drawer Soccer’s “Top-150 for 2021”, competed in the ECNL Nationals, the ECNL National Selection Game, and was part of the ECNL Conference Selection program in 2018 and 2019.West scored the game winner, on a penalty kick, for NorCal PDP in the semi-finals of the Gothia Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden and was “Top-18 for Region IV” at the 2018 ODP Regional Championship.