W. Soccer: All-American Itzel Ballesteros signs with four-year college

Itzel Ballesteros signs with Lincoln Memorial University
Itzel Ballesteros signs with Lincoln Memorial University

After a career when Cerritos College women's soccer player Itzel Ballesteros scored 34 career goals and assisted on 38 others, the All-American has signed a National Letter of Intent with Lincoln Memorial (TN) University. Ballesteros, who was named 1st Team All-American by the United Soccer Coaches, accounted for 12 goals and 23 assists as a sophomore. During her career, Ballesteros was also a two-time 2nd Team All-West Region and two-time All-Southern Region selection, while she was voted the South Coast Conference South Division Offensive Player of the Year her freshman year. She tied for the state lead with 23 assists as a sophomore, which is the second most in a season in school history.

"I had to think my options over a few times", said Ballesteros. "Most of my offers were out of state so I ultimately made the decision based off of where I knew I'd be most comfortable living for the next two years. It is a huge change but I really liked the school and team when I went to visit. I know I can provide a different style of play to the program that I acquired here at Cerritos."

Ballesteros will have a familiar face with her at the NCAA Division II school, as Falcon teammate Maria Hernandez has also committed to the school. During her Cerritos career, Hernandez was an All-Southern Region and two-time 1st Team All-South Coast Conference choice. She was limited to just 20 games in 2017 and recorded one goal with six assists after accounting for eight goals and 12 assists from her defender position as a freshman.

"Itzel is just a great kid who will be successful at the next level,' said Falcon head coach Ruben Gonzalez. "Her strengths are that she has great speed and is very unselfish."

"I can genuinely say that my years at Cerritos will be my favorite years that I've played soccer since I started," added Ballesteros. "I feel so lucky and blessed that I was able to experience being a National Champion my first year. I was able to play with very talented players that I became very close to. I can honestly say my coaches were the primary reason I was able to accomplish this. I learned so much from them on and off the field. They always made sure I kept a good head on my shoulders. I have never been part of a program that requires so much discipline and hard work but it all paid off and led to this and I know I will carry it with me to reach my potential at the next level."

Last season, the Railsplitters posted a 7-10 record and finished ninth in the South Atlantic Conference.