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Soccer team tops the gradebook

Soccer players earn academic accolades.

The senior girls soccer players have accomplished an impressive feat off the field this season as all seven have earned Academic All-State accolades for both Texas Association of Soccer Coaches and Texas Girls Coaches Association.

Carmen Contreras, Alexis Daniels, Naomi English, Reyvyn Grimaldo, Kassidy Patterson, Charlee Proctor and Kaylynn Spurgin were recognized by TASCO as student athletes who excel with their GPA, class rank and ACT/SAT scores, while maintaining a 92 overall average. They also were honored by TGCA, which requires an overall average of 94 for recognition.

“It has been an honor to be able to coach this group of young ladies,” said soccer Coach Justin O’Neal. “We strive to be the best on the field, but more importantly in the classroom. This group of seniors has helped lead the way for the team in all aspects of being student athletes.”

According to Coach O’Neal, these girls have been leaders for their team in all aspects.

“They have left a legacy for the program on and off the field,” he said. “They will be missed, but the future will be bright on the next step of their journey. I can’t wait to see all the places they will go.”

All seven are bound for college, and some will even continue their soccer career, including Kaylynn and Reyvyn.

“It makes sense to try in class, because you can’t play without good grades, and you can only go so far with soccer,” said Reyvyn, who will attend East Central University in Ada, Okla., to play soccer and major in biology.

Some of the players were motivated by their college plans, including Charlee, who will attend Texas A&M University in the fall and major in animal science.

“I was focused on my grades because of college,” said Charlee, who is in the Top 10 in her class and has already earned more than $40,000 in scholarships.

The soccer team is also proud to have the Class of 2022’s valedictorian, Naomi English, on the team.

Naomi said several factors contributed to her academic motivation and ultimate success in the classroom.

“My dad used to give me money for every 100 I made,” she recalled. “But he stopped after elementary school.”

But that didn’t stop Naomi’s good grades, and she remembers the moment that she realized academics was always going to be her priority.

“I was always hard on myself, but I remember getting a giant pencil in 5th grade for getting all As all year,” said Naomi, who will attend Tarleton University to major in biology. “That was the first time I knew I’d keep getting good grades.”

The girls always remember being honored together for their grades throughout the years.

“We were always the ones who were getting awards for all As at the end of the year,” said Kaylynn, who has committed to play soccer at Hardin Simmons and will major in kinesiology to be a physical therapist. “We are all individually focused on our grades for our future success, but we also know our teammates are doing the same thing.”

The players believe their competitive nature helps with their academic endeavors, as well.

“Everything is always a competition,” said Carmen, who will attend Hardin Simmons and major in kinesiology. “Even when it comes to getting better grades than everyone else.”

Now that they have achieved this high school goal, they turn their sights toward the next phase of their lives.

“I’m ready for something more challenging,” said Alexis, who will focus on nursing at Texas A&M-Commerce. “This will be another chance for academic validation and to stop struggling with procrastination.”

Despite being ready to focus on the future, the teammates know it will be an adjustment.

“Right now, I stay on track by turning in all my work,” said Kassidy, who will attend Collin in the fall and continue working. “In college, there are other distractions, but I think we are all ready. I will miss soccer and the adrenaline of the game and the people in it. Without soccer, I might not be where I am now with the friends I have and part of this close-knit team.”