National Signing Day was special in many ways for several local soccer products.
Illena Rivera, for one, looked at Wednesday’s event as a family affair of sort. The East Union High girls soccer standout signed on with Stanislaus State, joining Isela and Isabella.
She’s looking forward to playing alongside her two sisters for the first since her freshman year for the Lancers.
It was also special moment for Paul Diniz. He’s the coach for the Manteca Futbol Club, described as a “program designed to provide advanced competitive players with high quality training.”
Diniz proudly watched three of his players sign on to four-year college programs – Manteca High’s Natalia Duran (Sonoma State), and Sierra’s Kaleigh Doyle (CSU East Bay) and Kyndra Kiser (UC Merced).
She’s been looking forward to playing for Gabriel Bolton and his staff at Stanislaus State since her sophomore year in high school.
“This is exciting for our family,” said Illena of her dream to play once again alongside Isela and Isabella or Bella but only at a higher level.
Her folks, Monica and Trent, were equally thrilled as were her East Union friends, teammates and administrators.
The NCAA Division II Warriors of the California Collegiate Athletic Association finished last year with a 13-7 mark.
Rivera is leaning towards a degree in Nursing.
She’s the daughter of Tom and Cynthia Duran.
Natalia has been playing soccer since she was age 4. But it wasn’t until the last couple of years that she became the player ready for the next level.
“She was always small (player) for her age,” said Manteca Futbol Club coach Diniz, who had the youngster since she was about 6 or 7.
Natalia grew physically as did her playing skills – she’s versatile enough to play all positions on the field but is a standout defender.
Duran, who played for Buffaloes program under coach Justin Coenenberg for the past four years, is penciled in as a midfielder for the NCAA Division II Sonoma State Seawolves of the CCAA.
She’s looking to major in Biology with plans to go into a veterinary medicine. Natalia Duran helps out regularly at the Manteca Animal Shelter.
“I’m looking forward to playing at Sonoma,” she said. “I like the school, I like the coaches, and I like the competition that’s ahead.”
She considered Sonoma State and UC Merced. But Doyle found California State University-East Bay more to her liking.
She’s the daughter of Chris and Debbie Doyle. Kaliegh was about 8 when she first played for the Manteca Futbol Club.
She currently plays forward / midfielder for Manuel Pires’ program at Sierra High.
Kaleigh Doyle is looking ahead to NCAA Division II Pioneers of the CCAA under the direction of head coach Amy Gerace.
Several local products are on the CSU-East Bay roster, including Carsyn Hoogendoorn and Kianna Lamont of Manteca.
Doyle is planning on majoring in Kinesiology.
The daughter of Mark and Jessica Kiser was happy with her decision to play for the UC Merced Golden Bobcats.
The NAIA school plays in the California Pacific Conference under head coach Megan Atoigue.
The Bobcats finished the recent campaign with an impressive 12-3-3, reaching the CPCC semifinals (they lost suffered a 2-1 loss to the University of Antelope Valley).
Kiser is looking to study Cognitive Science at UC Merced.
She’s a midfielder/defender of the Timberwolves and was about 11 when she joined the Manteca Futbol Club.
Kiser is also looking forward to being reunited with former Sierra teammate Emma Broderick, who is a goal keeper for the Bobcats.
To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail email@example.com.