Ruthie Riley and Carly Vargas Wednesday became the second and third members of the Richmond Hill girls’ soccer team to sign NCAA Division I letters of intent this month.
Riley is headed to Campbell University in North Carolina, while Vargas will play for Tennessee Tech. Grace Kiser signed last week with Elon University.
“I don’t really have words to describe how I feel,” Riley said. “I’m just very blessed.”
Vargas, who said she committed a year ago, expressed relief at finally being able to sign.
“It’s very humbling,” she said.
The Campbell Camels were 10-7-2 overall last season and 5-2-2 in the Big South Conference.
The Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles went 9-5-3 overall last season, 6-1-3 in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Both players thanked their families and coaches and became a bit emotional, saying they have been best friends since fifth grade.
“This is a culmination of goals they set many years ago,” said Steve Kollman, long-time girls’ soccer coach at Richmond Hill. “But they didn’t do it alone. It takes a lot of time and money and support from parents, teachers who are willing to work with them when they miss school and good teammates.”
Riley and Vargas were both all-region picks last year, helping the Wildcats reach the Elite Eight in the AAAAAA state tournament.
Their respective programs are looking forward to them playing at the next level.
"I think the thing that impresses me most about Carly is that she's a really good soccer player, and what I mean by that is she understands the game in a variety of ways,” TTU Coach Steve Springthorpe said of Vargas. “Carly is tactically astute and technically sound which fits into what we want our players to be. She is the type of player that you know when she has the ball she will make the right decision.”
Campbell Coach Samar Azem said of Riley and the other eight signees that “Our staff spent a significant amount of time watching and getting to know our incomers. We are excited about the dynamic they add.”
Riley said she is interested in studying criminal justice and eventually working in the homeland security field, while Vargas said she is undecided but is leaning toward majoring in environmental studies.