The stories are everywhere … Female soccer players as young as ninth grade committing to NCAA DIwomen’s soccer powerhouses … Eighth graders being scouted by NCAA coaches at high-level tournaments, USSDA showcases, and USYNT (United States Youth National Team) events.
Most female soccer players with DI dreams feel like they have to have Division I offers by the time they hit their junior year of high school. They see peers and teammates announcing verbal commitments, and athletes who don’t have those offers often feel like they may as well give up their DI dreams.
San Diego’s Sarah Trent didn’t give up. Her college soccer recruiting journey was an unconventional one, but with faith and hard work, she ended up exactly where she belongs — at NCAA Division I New Mexico State University.
Through most of her high school years at Maranatha Christian High School in northern San Diego, Sarah played club soccer for San Diego Soccer Club (SDSC). She enjoyed her time at SDSC. She found success and wonderful friendships. She set multiple high school scoring records and led her Maranatha Eagles to back-to-back-to-back league championships, but college recruiting was lukewarm.
By the end of her junior year in high school, the recruiting specialist her family had hired gave her some “tough love” advice: He told Sarah it would be best to focus on NCAA Division II, DIII, NAIA, or possibly college club teams if she wanted to play in college.
That advice was hard to hear and even harder for Sarah, a natural-born goal scorer, to follow. She and her family knew that God had bigger plans for her college soccer career. They decided it was time to leave the wonderful friends she had made at SDSC and move to a team that would allow her to be challenged more and get her in front of more college coaches.
During the spring of her junior year in high school, Sarah left SDSC and joined Coach Tony Arnesen’s Del Mar Sharks G00 EGSL team. Immediately, she noticed a leap in the competitive level of the team, games, and tournaments. College coaches began to take notice.
Coach Tony describes:
“Sarah came to the Sharks with a desire to play at the collegiate level and at a school that she felt most comfortable. As we neared the end of her senior year, we were fortunate to be in touch with New Mexico State’s coaches Rob and Miguel through one of our Sharks directors, Erin Misaki. All we needed was an audience for them to see Sarah in person and see the work rate, speed, and phenomenal goal-scoring abilities. After getting a positive response from NMSU to Sarah’s highlight video, they came out to watch her train and play. Instantly they were able to see what the club and myself saw in Sarah — her love for the sport and the determination to find somewhere she would be happy.”
“Sarah never strayed from her desire to play college soccer, and her willingness to stick with it until the end gave her the chance of a lifetime.”
Sarah and her family went on an official visit to the NMSU campus in Las Cruces, New Mexico in April of her senior year. High school graduation was coming up the following month. Any recruiting expert will tell you that a visit to an NCAA DI women’s soccer program during Spring of senior year is very late in the recruiting process for women’s soccer, but Sarah and her family, instead of feeling nervous, immediately felt at peace. Sarah loved the campus, the facilities, and the academic majors offered by NMSU. She knew she had found her college home. The NMSU coaching staff extended an impressive scholarship offer and told the family to expect a written offer in the mail when they got back to San Diego.
Sarah’s mother, Mary Trent, says,
“She knew right away that she belonged at NMSU. She told her Dad and I this is where I want to go and play soccer. I immediately felt peace in this decision. Not the least bit of hesitation. We were patient with God’s timing and He placed her just were he wants her for this chapter in her life.”
Later that week, a ceremony was held in the Maranatha Christian School gym where Sarah signed her National Letter of Intent (NLI), officially accepting NMSU’s scholarship offer to play NCAA Division I soccer.
NMSU women’s soccer head coach Rob Baarts described Sarah in the team’s class of 2018 recruiting announcement:
“Sarah is a very athletic, fast player that will add depth to our attack,” Baarts said. “She is a dynamic forward that is good in 1v1 situations, using her pace to stretch the backline, and scoring goals. We are excited about her upside, and know she will continue to grow in our program.”
NMSU’s season opening game was an away game at (can you believe it?) San Diego State University! Sarah, who had impressed the NMSU veterans and coaching staff during pre-season, was named on the team’s travel roster and flew to San Diego with her NMSU Aggies team. The SDSU vs NMSU game ended in a 1-0 win for the Aztecs, but the San Diego reunion for the Trent family and the Maranatha Christian School soccer team was a sweet post-game reward for NMSU freshman forward#13: Sarah Trent.