By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– With her work ethic and those around her keeping herself going in the sport of soccer, it didn’t seem as if Mar Verastegui has only been playing soccer since the eighth grade.
But all that hard work paid off as she signed her Letter of Intent to play soccer at Corban University next season.
During her time at North Marion, Verastegui was part of a girl’s soccer program that went 5-14-9 during her freshman and sophomore years to a playoff contender her final two years with a Oregon West Conference and a Quarterfinal appearance her junior year.
“It’s really something that I could have imagined, I never really thought that we could have been this good and I hope that it continues and become a program where people want to come and play for. I hope that the other girls do have success in their future because there is a lot of potential,” said Verastegui on the Huskie program that went 21-8-3 the past two seasons.
The current wave of sophomores that came in last season as freshman that gave the program a spark plug with it’s current talent to help build some excitement to the program that Verastegui hopes continues into the future.
“I’m hoping that each year, the freshman come in and help the team even more and just build off this success each year. The program keeps growing and I’m excited to hopefully come out and watch a couple of their games this year to see how they’re doing,” she said.
As for her future endeavors, she’ll be joining a Warrior squad that saw Men’s Soccer coach Aaron Lewis take over the Women’s program this off-season after turning the Men’s Soccer team into a NAIA Power in the Cascade Collegiate Conference and in the NAIA as well.
Lewis went 95-23-9 as the Men’s Soccer Coach at Corban since his arrival since 2013 while guiding the Warriors to six straight NAIA National Tournaments before taking over the Women’s program. Outside of the in-school activities, Lewis also is the Head Coach of the Portland Timbers U23 team in Salem the past two seasons in the PDL with a Conference Title in 2017 to go with Director of Soccer duties at Corban University.
For Verastegui, she’s excited to work with the long-time coach as she hopes for a similar success she saw at North Marion with the talent at Corban and the wave of talent she’s going into Salem with next season.
“I kind of hope that the program at Corban is like here, like where we didn’t start off strong but we eventually got to where we were one of the better teams in the State. I hope with Aaron, he’s able to develop me and recruits to that point where we are one of the best programs as well,”
And though she’s been playing soccer for five years and got to this point where she’s getting an opportunity to play at next level, Verastegui admits that there’s still things she can improve on moving forward and hopes Coach Lewis can help her achieve her soccer goals.
“I have to learn skill-wise. I have a lot to improve on because I haven’t had a lot of time to develop that, but I think with Coach Lewis it can help with the mentality in the way I think about the game and the way I see it. Just play the game differently, that’s what I can build on from.”