Good Sports: Mariah Montoya

FRESNO, Calif.

Her stellar prep career highlights include scoring 29 goals in 2013. She's also been named TRAC player of the year and the Bee's offensive player of the year. And Mariah has done it despite being under five feet tall.

"I would say she is the best forward I've seen and probably one of the best forwards we'll ever see here at Central High School. I said it at signing day, she's a once-in-a-lifetime talent, and I completely stand behind that statement," said Brandon Kwock.

A bold statement indeed from a man who knows Mariah well. Central Girls head coach Brandon Kwock first noticed the talented striker in middle school. And during her four years at Central, he's groomed her to adapt and evolve as a player despite double and triple teams with defenders much taller and bigger than Mariah.

"I like to just go after the ball. I like to, I don't like to give up. I like to just keep going and going, and going. I like to make plays," said Montoya.

"She definitely takes her size personally. She's always trying to prove something to somebody. Proving that even though she is smaller, she takes advantage of that. She knows she's quicker. She knows she's faster. And she makes them adjust to her strengths. So she definitely doesn't shy away from contact. I'll tell you that," added Kwock.

On signing day this past winter, Mariah decided to stay local by committing to Fresno Pacific University and play for Sunbirds. She plans on being an accountant someday.

And there's no one happier about her being here than Erik Farfan who happens to be the head coach of FPU's Women's soccer team.

Mariah says staying close to home was a no brainer. But that doesn't mean that she wasn't feeling a few butterflies at signing day.

"It's amazing how like hard work pays off. And I was proud of myself. Also with my parents not playing any sports either. I think they were really proud of me too," said Montoya.

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