SSHS seniors Irvin Somera and Kayla Schlittenhart will both play soccer after next year in the collegiate ranks, Somera at Peninsula College in Port Angeles Washington and Schlittenhart at Minot State University in Minot, North Dakota.
Wednesday marked the first day of the collegiate signing period for football, soccer and track & field athletes.
Somera announced his intentions to attend the junior college in Washington state at a signing ceremony hosted at Spanish Springs High Wednesday morning.
“I thought it was a good opportunity for me,” Somera said. “I think it will be a good experience. This is a great way to go to college. It’s something I want to do in my life.”
Somera is a two-time High Desert League midfielder of the year and a four-year letter winner for Spanish Springs. He helped lead the Cougars to the first state tournament berth in school history as a junior in 2010.
Somera is good friends with fellow all-league player Alex Martinez of North Valleys, who also signed Wednesday to play for Peninsula. The two play club soccer together as well.
“I always feel better doing something new with company,” Somera said. “The coach told us he wants us to help his program and for us to progress as players. As a little kid I’ve always dreamed of playing soccer in the big time. I’m really excited and anxious to start.”
SSHS boys soccer coach Rob Moreland is a veteran of the northern Nevada soccer scene. He’s seen his fair share of talent go through the region and he has little doubt Somera can succeed at the next level.
“This is great,” Moreland said. “He’s the kind of kid who you can put anywhere. He’s really good at everything. From his first year here I thought he could play beyond high school. He’s humble and down to earth. I told him he needs to get his Associates degree so he can got to the next college level. He’s got the speed and knowledge.”
Schlittenhart is a two-year girls soccer letter winner for Spanish Springs. The SSHS student-athlete said she has been playing soccer since she was four and that the sport has always been in her blood.
“I’ve known for a while that I wanted to play college soccer, maybe even since I was pretty young,” Schlittenhart said. “I’ve grown up around soccer and always wanted to use it to go to bigger and better places. I want to go far in soccer and see where it will take me.”
Schlittenhart said she first gained interest in Minot State after talking with a friend and former club soccer teammate who does attend the North Dakota school. The friend put her in touch with the MSU coach and the two began exchanging emails.
“I went to some tournaments and the coach came to watch me play,” Schlittenhart said. “He said he was interested and it just went from there. I talked about playing anywhere they need me, but midfield is the No. 1 spot I like to play.
“I can’t wait to go off on my own, work on my career and get started in the world.”
Those comments don’t surprise Schlittenhart’s mother, Kim, who said her daughter made all the college choices herself.
“She’s decided that’s what she wants to do,” Kim Schlittenhart said. “Her father and I are glad she’s getting the opportunity to what she wants. She’s excited.
“We wish she wasn’t going so far away, but it’s something she’s worked hard toward. She may not get to play past college but now she’s got four more years. We’re very proud of her.”