Gilroy's Connie Contreras smiles after signing her letter of intent to play with the University of Jamestown in Jamestown, N.D. Friday at Gilroy High. 
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GILROY — Friday was Connie Contreras’ day in the sun.
The Gilroy senior signed her letter of intent to play for the University Jamestown in Jamestown, N.D. in front of family, friends and classmates in the sunshine at Garcia-Elder Stadium.
“It’s hard going away from my family, but I’m really excited to play soccer,” Contreras said. “I got close with all the girls over there. I’m just excited to get out there and explore North Dakota.”
The road to Jamestown has been anything but easy. Contreras has been playing soccer since she was 4-years-old and competitively since she was 8. But she received not only an athletic scholarship, but an academic one as well.
“She’s always had a really strong work ethic for the sport that she loves,” her father Luis Contreras said. “She needs to work at her grades — they don’t come naturally to her. It’s a lot of hard work in the classroom to get here.”
Connie had a standout junior year which led to having a target on her back for opponents this season. She was also injured for part of the year, but still was able to score seven goals as well as 10 assists.
“(We’re going to miss) her leadership, her grit and hardwork,” Mustangs coach John Slattery said. “You can’t replace hardwork. … She’s always busting her butt, slide tackling, doing whatever it takes to get that win and that’s what we’re going to miss the most.”
Connie said she is prepared for the change in scenery — and weather — of North Dakota and that she’s just ready to go out and play soccer. She is just the fourth Gilroy girls soccer player to receive a scholarship for soccer.
“It feels great,” she said. “I’ve played with the girls who all went to college (who are) playing at that level. It’s pretty exciting to know that I’m good enough to do that.”
Connie’s parents said the day was bittersweet. They were happy that their daughter’s hard work had finally paid off and having visited Jamestown they knew she was headed to a good place. But still, 1,800 miles is a long way away. Despite the distance, mom and dad’s joy for Connie far outweighed their apprehension about the distance.
“We’re very proud,” Luis said.
“Extremely proud,” her mother Theresa added.

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