Despite a difficult year navigating through pandemic-related challenges, the Elgin Community College Women’s Soccer Program scored big in their 2020-21 season. For the first time in 12 years, the team won the Regional Championship this past spring, going undefeated in regional play. They then went on to make history and be the first team in their program to compete at the NJCAA Division III National Championship in Newark, New Jersey.
Leading ECC Women’s Soccer Program for their first year are Head Coach Edwin Jaramillo and Assistant Head Coach Emily Witt. Coach Jaramillo was honored with the Regional Champion’s Women’s Soccer Division III 2020-21 Coach of the Year. “We had struggles earlier in the season that challenged our mental toughness; we had to dig in deep as a program. Something I said throughout the year was making mistakes happens in life. It’s how you respond back from those mistakes that shows who we are,’” said Coach Jaramillo.
Forward Kaley Kowal was named Most Valuable Player in the Regional Tournament. “It was a rough season, and the odds were always against us, but we never looked at it that way. The mentality of our team was like no other, and we put everything out on the field every day,” said Kowal. “I’m so proud of everyone. From the beginning of our season, our big goal was to go to Nationals and make history for our school. Any team can play a game, but the teams that win are those that play with heart and determination.” Kowal was also named a First Team All-Region Player, along with teammates Mikayla Brown (center midfielder), Kylee Backer (goalkeeper), and Anayeli Perez (center-back). Second Team All-Region Players included Nat McGinnis (center midfielder), Olivia Piaskowy (center-back/defensive midfielder), and Kayla Mathis (left center-back).
The women’s team also showed their strength off the field in their academic accomplishments. Dean’s List Recipients included Kylee Backer and Anayeli Perez, and Honor’s List Recipients included Yareli Trujillo and Oliva Piaskowy.” As coaches, we always want to put them up for success, not just on the field, but also off it, reiterating that soccer is not the only thing to focus on, but our academics and our future careers,” said Coach Jaramillo.
The team’s 2020-21 season and a trip to the National Championship are detailed in a photo essay by ECC photographer Mark Carriveau.
To learn more about ECC’s Women’s Soccer Program, visit https://elgin.edu/life-at-ecc/athletics/ or follow them on Instagram @ecc_wsoccer. Interested in playing this fall? Attend the fall program introductory meeting on Thursday, July 1, in Building J at 5:15 p.m.