Home-Grown Coach Steps in and Saves the Season
Posted: 3/21/2014
The Southwestern College Sun
Written by:  Alma Hurtado & John Domogma

 

Home-grown coachGrowing up in Logan Heights, Carolina Soto could not wait to get out of the South County. Once she did, however, she had a huge change of heart.

Now, after starring in college and playing professional soccer, her heart belongs to the women’s team at Southwestern College and Chula Vista High School.

Soto was asked to take over the SWC program less than three weeks before the start of the season when coach Karyna Figueroa went on maternity leave earlier than expected. Several Lady Jaguar players had already quit before Sotto arrived, but those who stayed say they are glad they did.
“We’ve had our struggles, but overall she (Soto) is a good coach,” said goalkeeper Donna Greenman. “I look forward to figuring out how to make our team stronger.”

Forward Jennifer Rodriguez said Soto made the players into a team.

“She had a lot to deal with through-out the season but she brought it together not only with her skill in teaching, but also relating to us and getting to know us on a different level,” she said. “That really helped out.”

Soto said she was happy to step in. She quickly pulled together the team and posted a 12-7-2 record (9-4-2 conference). Very impressive considering the circumstances.

“I wanted to come back and help my community,” she said. “I want to be a role model.”

Soto said she played with a soccer ball before she could even walk. She credited her soccer-player father with igniting her passion for the sport.

“My dad has been my biggest influence,” she said. “There are pictures of us when I was about 1 or 2 years old and I’m sitting on his lap in his team pictures.”

The Beautiful Game is part of her family heritage, said Soto.
“I’ve always had a lot of support from my father and my entire family,” she said.

It could have been very easy to fall in with the wrong crowd as a young Latina in a place like Logan Heights, Soto said, but soccer became her outlet and ultimately opened a door to a world of opportunities.
“I grew up in a tough neighborhood,” she said. “Other people were out doing things they weren’t supposed to do, but soccer kept me away from that.”

At age 9 she began playing for the local YMCA league and worked her way onto elite teams like Crusaders Spirit and the Bonita Rebels.

After serving as team captain at Montgomery High School she attended USIU then Long Beach State University, earning degrees in kinesiology and Chicano/ Latino studies.

She played professionally for the San Diego Gauchos and coached with Olympic gold medalist Julie Foudy.

Coaching the Lady Jaguars has been a revelation, she said.
“This is my calling,” she said. “I feel completely blessed.”

Rodriguez describes Soto as a person and a coach.

“She has a passion for soccer and for helping players develop their skills,” said Rodriguez. “As a coach she is determined to get the players to be on the same page and flow with each other, no matter the situation.”

SWC News Room Graphic
Recent Posts
Each summer for the past 42 years, the College for Kids program has partnered with local South County school districts to give fifth- through ninth-grade students the opportunity to spend two weeks taking classes at Southwestern College.... READ MORE
As you know, Dr. Nish’s last day with the District is today, June 30. Once again, the Board is thankful to Dr. Nish for her dedicated work for the District over the last several years, and we wish her the best in her future personal and professional endeavors.... READ MORE
Southwestern College has been chosen by the U.S. Department of Education for its Second Chance Pell pilot program, a nationwide program that provides incarcerated Americans the opportunity to receive the Federal Pell Grant to defray the financial costs of higher education. ... READ MORE
Southwestern College is closing the achievement gap and rewriting the rules on student success through a rapidly expanding program that embeds trained tutors in the classroom to provide immediate help when needed and to offer follow-up sessions afterward in a campus study center.... READ MORE
The Southwestern College Governing Board approved the college’s tentative budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year at its June 14 meeting. The $114.9 million spending plan includes $98.6 million—more than 85 percent of the budget—for personnel expenses, including $3.9 million to fund 58 vacant positions.... READ MORE
The Southwestern College Governing Board unanimously voted at its June 14 meeting to refinance a portion of Proposition R bonds to give taxpayers a potential savings of approximately $13.4 million.... READ MORE
The Southwestern College community gathered Tuesday for a candle light vigil organized by the Associated Student Organization (ASO) in honor of the Orlando shooting victims. ... READ MORE
This has been a weekend of mourning as we have tried to understand the murder of 49 and the wounding of 53 of our brothers and sisters in Orlando, Florida. The hate and prejudice that precipitated these acts must not be the behavior that defines us. ... READ MORE
Southwestern College will join Minority Male Community College Collaborative’s (M2C3) first consortium dedicated to improving and advancing the success of men of color as well as students from historically underserved communities. ... READ MORE
The Campaign for College Opportunity together with the California Business Roundtable honored three local San Diego community colleges on June 2nd in Sacramento for being statewide leaders in significantly increasing the number of students earning an Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT).... READ MORE