Morrow soccer players Jada Wadley, left, and Angelica Rivera signed scholarships on Wednesday afternoon in the school media center. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
MORROW — History was made Wednesday afternoon at Morrow High School.
For the first time in recent memory, a female athlete signed a soccer scholarship. In fact, two girls signed.
Forward Jada Wadley and midfielder Angelica Rivera signed their letters of intent in front of a gathering of family, faculty, and students in the school’s media center.
“I tell them all the time ‘You are a part of history. You’re leaving a legacy behind,’” head coach Erwin Equihua said.
Wadley will be suiting up for the University of Maine, while Rivera will stay closer to home and play for Point University — located about 60 miles southwest of Atlanta. Wadley was even promised a starting spot.
“I’m very excited about it,” Wadley said. I didn’t think I would go to a college and start, especially somewhere that far. It’s very overwhelming.”
Wadley has reason to be overwhelmed. She has only played the sport for two years.
In that short amount of time she became a contributor to her team and caught the attention of colleges. Maine probably noticed what Equihua first noticed about her.
“Jada had speed,” he said. “I saw that she had speed. We worked out a little bit and she just got better.”
Wadley didn’t have any lofty expectations in those first few days with the team.
“When I first started it was just something to do, stay in shape and stay active,” she said. “I didn’t think I would be good at it, but after getting the hang of it, I started to really like it and really be interested in it. I practiced more and now I’m here.”
For two players to play on the same team, Wadley’s and Rivera’s stories couldn’t be more different. Rivera was captain of the team for all of her four years.
She heads to a Point squad that’s expected to provide heated competition for starting positions.
“I just hope they’re ready for me because I like a good competition,” Rivera said. “I’m going to go there with the attitude that I want that spot. I want to take it from somebody there.”
Point has more than a dozen players returning and is expected to sign more than a dozen.
“She will be amongst a lot of good players,” Point coach Randy Douglas said. “It’s not just going to be on talent. It’s going to be who wants it a little bit more than the other person. I know she’s got a tremendous drive and wants to succeed. That’s what I like about her.”
The chance to compete at Point is one Rivera really cherishes as she will be the first in her family to attend college.
“If it wasn’t for soccer I wouldn’t be going to college,” she said.
Rivera and Wadley was a part of the program’s first ever playoff berth as juniors. Equihua instills in his players that they have to ‘leave something better than they found it.’
Based on that standard, Wadley and Rivera accomplished their mission.