DOUGLAS — Two Douglas High School soccer players are anxious to begin the next chapter of their lives which includes playing collegiate soccer at Cochise College.
Jenally Barco and Deirdra Victor signed their national letters of intent Feb. 3 in front of a small group of family and friends at Douglas High School. Also on hand was Cochise College coach Bobby Peters and his two assistants, Anita Mirascova and Douglas High School graduate Crystal Munoz who played soccer at Cochise, left to attend school in Tennessee, and has returned to Cochise where she will serve as a first year assistant coach.
“Today is a very special day here at Douglas High School as we honor two special athletes who are about to sign their letters of intent,” Angel Ortega, Douglas’ athletic director said at the signing which was streamed live on the school’s Facebook page. “These two are an example that anything is possible and that hard work, commitment and dedication does pay off. On behalf of Douglas High School athletics, we couldn’t be more proud of them. We’re excited for you and we know coach Peters and his staff are excited to have you join them.”
Douglas’ soccer coach Mario Romero congratulated both of his now former players adding it was very unfortunate Douglas was not able to have a soccer season this year but to still be able to have the opportunity to take their skills to play at the next level says alot about these girls’ talent and dedication to the sport.
Barco stated she is excited for the opportunity to not only go to college but also play collegiate soccer in her hometown where her family and friends can watch her play.
“This is a dream come true,” she said. “It means so much to me. I hope to begin my career at Cochise and then maybe later, transfer to a university.”
Barco thanked her parents Paul and Iresema for their support over the years.
“They were always there supporting me and encouraging me even when others were telling me I couldn’t do it,” she said. “Today would not be happening if it wasn’t for them. I owe them a lot.”
Victor is extra excited because after playing with her older sister Deyanira for three years at DHS, she is once again playing reunited with her sister only this time at Cochise College.
“I feel so blessed to have this opportunity,” she said. “Knowing that Dae Dae is going to be there means a lot. She has always been there for me throughout all my sports, especially soccer which is my main sport. We really have connected because of sports. Nobody really understood our connection but she’s been on the field, she’s played the game, she understands what I’m feeling. We’ve always supported and encouraged each other. Now that I have this opportunity to once again play with her, now at Cochise, is a big blessing.”
Both Barco and Victor said they were extremely disappointed when they received word their senior soccer season at DHS would not be happening.
Barco continued to play with a club team in Sierra Vista while also running cross country for the Bulldogs.
“I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason,” she said. “We don’t know what would have happened this year. I could have gotten hurt, not been given this opportunity, I’m just really grateful.”
Victor agreed with Barco that everything happens for a reason and that it’s possible something could have happened to one of both of them had they played this year.
“I believe what happened today was destined to happen,” Victor said. “Even though we weren’t seen by other colleges I believe we were chosen by Cochise for a reason.”
Coach Peters said he first saw Jenally and Deidra about two years ago when he was recruiting Breanna Guzman who is currently his goalie.
“I was impressed with their talent level then so I kept an eye on them,” he said.
The coach stated he was impressed with Victor’s intensity level on the field.
“She’s not afraid to get in there and be aggressive,” he said. “She hustles back on defense, doesn’t give up on the play.”
Barco meanwhile has a natural knack to put the ball into the back of the net.
“Those two parts of the game are something I like to have on the field,” he said. “They both have that intensity, that willingness to win. Both are tenacious players.”
The coach added the fact Douglas High School did not have a soccer season this year did not deter him at all from offering these two players scholarships.
“A lot of schools experienced that problem this year,” he said. “Even my team this year is not in the best of condition. I know how to train players and get them fit and get them ready to play. I know what they can do on the field plus they have that determination, grittiness that I like and want in all my players.”
Both players state they cannot wait for August to arrive so they can begin practicing with their new teammates.
“I’m excited to have them for the 20/21 season,” Peters said. “It will be very nice. I’m still gearing up for this season first, however. There is so much talent down here. I’m happy to be able to get them.