Falcons fly to Philadelphia

Monica Gallardo, Opinion Editor

Sophomores Adrianna Salazar, Nayeli Requejo, Ashley Anaya-Webb and Makayla Mendoza individually traveled to Philadelphia to receive their All-American awards at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Convention on Jan. 14-18.
They were joined by Head Coach Ruben Gonzalez, who was named the South Coast Conference Coach of the Year.
Assistant Coach Memo Gonzalez also recieved recognition by recieving the West Region Assistant Coach of the Year award.
Cold weather prevented the Cerritos attendees from any sightseeing. Requejo said, “The only thing I saw was the Liberty Bell because it was two blocks away from my hotel. It was freezing and I didn’t want to be outside.”
Salazar added, “I wasn’t ready for the cold. We were in downtown, but it was 28 degrees and we kind of didn’t want to leave the hotel. It was so cold, but while driving we saw the bridges. That was about it.”
Gonzalez took advantage of the trip and decided to go to New York after the convention.
“I took it as a mini-vacation,” he said.
Despite the lack of Calif. sunshine, the award winners were happy to receive their accolades.
All contributing to the Falcon’s third-straight CCCAA State Championship and No. 2 rank in the country.
“It’s a great honor to always have your student-athletes receive awards and this is the first time we’ve ever had four of our girls receive it at the same time,” Gonzalez said.
Forward and midfielder Requejo was an integral part of the team.
In addition to being named All-American, she was also named the NSCAA Division III Player of the Year, as well as the South Coast Conference Offensive Player of the Year.
She finished her career at Cerritos College setting records for most single-season assists (28), career goals (63), career assists (42) and career points (168).
She received scholarship offers from several universities, such as University of California Irvine, University of California Riverside, Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana Monroe, University of Hawaii, University of South Florida and has been in contact with Cal Poly Pomona, but has yet to decide on her future.
“It’s weird for me.
“I mean, I’m happy, but it’s weird to get individual awards. It was kind of embarrassing and I don’t like when everyone is staring at me. I just don’t want to be labeled as cocky because I’m really not,” Requejo said.
Salazar and Mendoza were given first team accolades, while Anaya-Webb was given second team honors.
Salazar, who started every game as the Falcons goalkeeper and allowed just five goals said, “This award, it’s obviously bigger because it’s at a college level.
“I received awards in high school too, but it’s just not the same. There’s a lot more important people there and it just seemed a lot more official.”
Defender Mendoza started 24 out of 25 games and the team allowed just four goals all season while she was on the field.
Before being advised by a former teammate to join the Falcons, she played at Cal State Long Beach and Pikeville University in Kentucky.
“It’s probably the biggest recognition I’ve gotten so it’s really an honor. Obviously I couldn’t do it without all the coaches and teammates I’ve had,” the South Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year said.
Forward Anaya-Webb scored 42 goals during the season, setting the new Cerritos College record for most goals scored in a single season.
In addition to the national recognition, the South Coast Conference recognized Salazar, Anaya-Webb, midfielder Clara Gomez and defender Kimberly Oliveras as first-team honorees.
Defenders Alex Kidd and Kassie Olivas, along with midfielders Jill Messersmith and Esmeralda Verdugo received second team honors.