Three John Tyler soccer players put their futures in writing on Wednesday afternoon, signing letters of intent to play at local colleges at the Melton Academic & Athletic Complex.
Mary Sue Rosales signed with Tyler Junior College and the duo of Andrea Araiza and Eymi Cornelio chose Lon Morris College as their next destinations in front a large group of family, JT staff and members of the Lady Lions’ soccer program.
Rosales earned Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors on the All-District 31-4A girls’ soccer team.
TJC won the national title last season under coach Corey Rose, finishing with a perfect 24-0 record. Ten members of the championship team recently inked with four-year colleges.
“It feels great to have this opportunity to play for such a good team,” said Rosales, who plans to pursue a career in criminal justice. “TJC is a good school and it’s close to home and close to my friends, and I’ll be able to watch them play also.”
Rosales played four years for the JT varsity, helping the Lady Lions go from failing to win a single district game as a freshman to the playoffs.
“Everything was a good experience,” added Rosales, who scored 11 goals. “It’s been emotional. I don’t regret any bit of it.”
Cornelio merited first-team all-district honors for her play as a defender. She joins a Lon Morris program coached by Rafael Gonzales, who last year replaced longtime Bearcats mentor Chris Woodard.
“I feel excited,” said Cornelio, who expects to major in nursing. “I’m really looking forward to going to college to play.”
Araiza made second-team all-district. She likes the fact a friend gets to join her at the private college located 30 miles away in Jacksonville.
“I’m more prepared because I know I have someone that’s going to support me,” said Araiza, a forward/defender also planning to study nursing. “I’m hoping to improve and step up a level.”
The trio helped JT reach the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.
“It’s a surreal kind of thing,” JT coach Paul Frye said. “This is the first time since I’ve been here (we’ve had players sign). It’s been an awesome process to watch them grow, develop and mature.”