Carolina Soto said she longed to coach soccer at Southwestern College.
A little more notice, however, would have been nice.
Soto was hired just weeks before the first game and after several key players quit due to tumult. Even so, she led the squad to an impressive 12-7-2 record and barely missed the playoffs.
“It’s been a difficult transition,” she said. “Coming in as a new coach, the last minute stuff was more challenging than the circumstances that I came into. But I feel so fortunate to be working for SWC because it was my dream when I was in high school.”
The Lady Jags finished second in the Pacific Coast South Conference with a 5-2-1-conference record. They won four of their last five games.
The final loss was a 3-0 heartbreak at home against conference champions San Diego Mesa. Had the Lady Jaguars beaten Mesa, they would have won the conference and punched a playoff bid.
“I’m satisfied, if anything it has been a successful season,” said Soto. “I always give the recognition to the girls because they have always been working really hard and working their butts off in games and that’s what counts.”
Another memorable moment in the season was when the team swept Cuyamaca College.
The veterans had difficulties adjusting to the new coach, although defender Alyssa “Ganzo” Gonzales felt the season got better as it progressed.
“Honestly, it was a tough transition but we definitely worked through it,” she said. “Getting the girls motivated was a big part of a smooth transition.”
SWC women’s soccer team has been perceived by their opponents as the underdogs for years. Freshman Olivia Serna said that the team worked hard to gain their respect.
“I like when people say that we are the underdogs,” she said. “I like proving them wrong.”
Serna predicted a strong recruiting season.
“Hopefully next year we come back stronger than this year.”