Good Sports: Haley Espinoza

Last year, when the girls' soccer team at El Capitan High School won the Central California Conference, the team etched a spot in the record books by becoming the first girls team in school history to win a league title.

Coaches made special shirts and the team even got a special cake.

One of the Gauchos' sweet scorers is senior Haley Espinoza.

"She is one of our stars," said head coach Jose Duran. "She is a star definitely for El Capitan but she doesn't shine the light on herself."

Haley has split her time scoring goals for the Gauchos as well as the development team for the San Jose Earthquakes. "As I started getting invited to more and more games I got invited to Sweden and it kind of just escalated," Espinoza said.

Along the way her teammates starting getting scholarships to UCLA and Stanford while no offers came Haley's way. "I would play with them and think I was just as good as them so I was like, you know what? I need to put myself out there."

Haley took it upon herself to put together a recruiting reel to start sending to coaches picking every play she thought separated herself from other girls. "And I didn't necessarily do it with goals because I don't think college coaches want a player who can score goals," she told Action News. "I think they want a player with more substance."

Her assistant coach, Jazmine Duran, applauds that awareness saying, "That's amazing that she was able to think outside the box."

Last month, the work paid off as she signed a letter of intent to stay in the Valley and play at Fresno State.

As for what kind of teammate she'll be with the Bulldogs, here's what she had to say when asked about her soccer role model. Once Alex Morgan and Crystal Dunn from the US women's national team she says now she looks up to every one of her many teammates. "Every player has made me a better player and I think that's the best part about soccer, you get better by playing with your teammates," she said.

But before she heads down the road to Fresno State, The Merced Union High School District has plans to recognize her success. "When I shared that with Haley she said 'Oh no...more attention!" Duran said.
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