Girls soccer: Obstacles overcome; Fort Lupton's Garcia signs with Northeast CC

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                Fort Lupton’s Reygan Garcia fought her way through more than just the usual recruiting issues and the ones courtesy of COVID-19. 

                “After I tore my ACL, a lot of colleges didn’t want to trust me anymore,” she said. “They thought I would keep reinjuring it. I had a couple of (NCAA) D-1 schools stop talking to me. This coach (Coach Chad Miller) stayed consistent with me. It seemed like he cared more about me as a person. Even if I did hurt it again, he said he wouldn’t drop the scholarship.” 

                McAlpine coaches at Northeast Community College in Nofolk, Nebraska, and Garcia signed her letter of intent Feb. 18 at FLHS. 

                “It’s a community college, so I thought it would be like Aims,” Garcia said. “Everyone there is an athlete. And there’s a whole bunch of foods there, like Chick Fil-A, Raising Canes. And I get to stay in a dorm, so I was like, ‘OK.’” 

                “I love it when athletes are students first,” said FLHS athletic director Cora Lanter. “She is a face everywhere at this school, and the face that she brings is a happy face.” 

                “You embody what a student-athlete is,” said FLHS girls soccer coach Archie Suniga. “You have been an outstanding role model for the girls in our program. Northeastern is getting an outstanding lady.” 

                Recruiting during a pandemic made things difficult for a lot of prospective college athletes, Garcia included. 

                "It was hard, especially trying to reach out to coaches," she said. “They wanted to speak to the seniors of the pandemic. If you tried reaching out to them they’d say they were focusing on the seniors. I did basketball, and then I hurt myself. And that made it harder for them to notice me. This coach (McAlpine) was really consistent, and he believed in me.” 

                Garcia didn’t play in either of the last two seasons. One was called off because of COVID. As a freshman, she scored 22 goals in 15 games, averaged five shots per game 

                She wants to study early education and become an elementary school teacher.  

                “When she got hurt, her attitude flipped to, ‘Ok. How am I going to get better?’” said FLHS Principal John Biner. “I remember the first assembly you did. You were nervous that first time. The last time? She owned the place. That speaks to who she is as a person. She is one of those kids you want to adopt.” 

                Norfolk is about seven hours northeast of Fort Lupton. 

                “The only reason I’m scared is because I’ll be far away from everyone,” Garcia said. “I get to grow as a person and play soccer again. I get to play with my club teammates again. I’m trying to transfer. All my stuff will transfer to CSU. That’s where I’ve always wanted to play. But if that doesn’t happen, I’ll just make my way up to any school. I don’t know. I just want to play soccer.” 

                 

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