Men’s College Soccer: Correa to keep playing a game that brings joy | College

DANIEL MORALES

Upon graduating from Vintage High School in 2019, collegiate soccer was not in the plans for Edgar Correa.

Three years later, after soul searching during the COVID-19 pandemic and rediscovering his passion for the game, the Napa Valley College standout was all smiles Tuesday as he signed a letter of intent to continue his soccer career at NCAA Division II Holy Names University in Oakland.

Correa is the fourth NVC men’s player to transfer to a four-year institution from last fall’s team, which won the Storm’s fourth straight Bay Valley Conference title.

“I’m very excited,” said Correa, who plans to major in business and marketing. “I want to thank my parents and friends for their endless support and providing an environment where we can all branch off and achieve all our goals and ambitions. Every NVC faculty member and coach I had the opportunity to work with have been a great part in my academic journey. ”

For Correa, NVC was always his first choice. His plan was simple: complete as many general courses as possible, take advantage of the diverse programs that would allow him to transfer to a four-year university, and work a full-time job to help make ends meet at home.

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Soccer was not in the cards.

“Edgar is your traditional community college student,” NVC men’s soccer head coach Rogelio Ochoa said. “He worked full-time during his time at NVC, was a full-time student, took summer classes, and was transfer-ready in 2½ years. His time-management skills and level of maturity are what allowed him to never miss a training nor class, save thousands of dollars, and get a variety of offers at numerous four-year universities to continue playing soccer. Edgar put academics first while continuing to do what he loves, playing soccer at a high level. ”

Academics was definitely Correa’s priority. For his first semester at NVC, he enrolled in 20 units without having soccer on his mind.

“I decided to redshirt my first season at NVC because I was focusing more on my academics and I was unsure if I wanted to continue with soccer after high school,” he recalled. “But as time went on and COVID hit, a friend asked me to come train in the summer of 2020 and that sparked my love for the sport again. I had forgotten how much joy this sport brought me, and it also awoke my dream of pursuing to play at the next level.

“I was left with a difficult choice in the spring of 2021 because I was set to transfer by fall and right before I was due to accept my admission to Sacramento State, I took the opportunity and decided to transfer the following year and stay and play one season at Napa Valley College. ”

The season did not start too joyfully for Correa. They lost their first seven non-conference games and BVC opener to start 0-8. But they did not lose another BVC game, finishing 8-1-1 in conference play. They also came closer than ever before to a first-ever playoff win, losing 3-2 to a top-seeded Hartnell squad that went on to finish second in the state. Napa Valley finished 8-11-1 overall.

“Our preseason did not go the way we wanted,” said Correa, who was injured during the preseason. “Thankfully, after a formation change and great perseverance from our squad, we were able to switch gears and make a comeback to win BVC for the fourth time in a row and continue the streak. It was all a great learning experience and it was definitely one to remember. ”

Although Correa started playing soccer competitively only seven years ago, his short stint at NVC saw him turn into one of the most versatile athletes the men’s soccer program has featured in recent years. After Correa recovered from his injury, Ochoa implemented him in diverse positions – most notably as his anchor in the defensive line.

“Holy Names University is getting an amazing human being who is very hardworking and communicates well,” Ochoa said. “On the field he works extremely hard and is willing to do anything for the team to succeed.”

The Hawks, who participate in the NCAA Division II Pacific West Conference, will welcome Correa in August.

Like Correa, Ochoa sees a bright future for players looking to attend NVC and participate in the program he manages. This spring, the Storm competed against teams that would expose them to the speed of play, physicality and style of the game at NCAA Division II level while having the opportunity to explore their campuses. Amongst the opponents they faced were Cal State East Bay, Holy Names University and Cal Poly Humboldt. The also took on Napa Valley 1839 FC of the National Premier Soccer League.

“We want to send a message to the players in this program and the local community that playing for a four-year university can become a reality by using Napa Valley College as a stepping stone to grow, develop and showcase their talent and be an immediate impact player in the four years of their choice, ”Ochoa said. “We are a strong believer in our saying, ‘Start here, go anywhere.'”

Correa said attending NVC and sticking around to play one year of soccer was instrumental in achieving a huge milestone in his academic aspirations.

“I’ve always wanted to attend a four-year university, especially coming here,” he said. “Words can’t really describe how excited I am. This program has been a pleasure to be a part of and will get anyone where they want to be. Start here, go anywhere. ”

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