For Sadie Armijo, the game of soccer is a family affair. And it’s helped drive her to this point of her playing career.
From her older sister Payton, who just completed a redshirt freshman year at Cal State Northridge; to her younger sister Caelyn, an 11-year-old midfielder for the local club team South Valley Thunder.
And then to Sadie, who wrapped up her big day Wednesday — National Signing Day — by inking a National Letter of Intent to join Payton at CSUN next year.
Not to be outdone, Sadie’s parents also took the field of play in competitive athletics. Her mom, Mauri, played soccer at East High School and then Bakersfield College. Her dad, Teddy, played football and wrestled at East as well, before playing football at BC. He eventually wrapped up his college career at Cal Poly.
“We’re a very athletic base,” Sadie quipped following Wednesday’s signing ceremony at the Highland library.
She was then quick to point out that there’s much more to it.
“My dad has always instilled in us that champions do more. In order to be a champion you have to progress outside of practice and off the field. That means early-morning training — at the park, in the gym, before school,” Sadie said. “That’s basically the key to where I am today….Pushing through and doing more.”
That outlook has made Armijo a leader on the Scots, who hold a 14-9-1 record on the season and a 7-1 mark in Southeast Yosemite League play.
Aside from her hard-working approach, Armijo is a smart and savvy player. Teddy added that Sadie brings a high level of toughness to the table, whether it be on the field or in the classroom.
“Since she was little, we knew that she would rather go through somebody than the ball. She’s that type of player. She’s always been that type of player,” Teddy said. “She’s our bruiser.”
While Armijo primarily played defense the past four years at Highland, she's also been a versatile player who's periodically taken the field at forward. She currently has two goals and an assist on the season.
“When she gets that opportunity to get up front, when I can do it, I do it. Just because I like to watch her play,” said Scots head coach Tom Ferralli. “Regardless of where she is on the field, there’s such a passion behind it.”
Armijo said she plans to play defense at Northridge. The Matadors went 15-9-4-8 overall last year and were second in the Big West with a 4-1-3 conference record. In 2016, CSUN won a Big West regular season championship, and the program qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2009.
Sadie said she expects to step into a competitive situation at the school.
“Try to earn their respect early on,” she said. “Show that I can hold my own, be strong.”
On Wednesday, Armijo was joined by two of her Scots teammates who each signed at four-year schools as well — Aaliyah Cleveland and Anda Aborqui.
While Aborqui will play at Cal State East Bay as a midfielder, Cleveland will take the field at forward for La Sierra University in Riverside.
All three-players put on quite the performance during Wednesday’s signing ceremony, with heartfelt testimonials to their friends and family members who packed the Highland library.
“My speech, having the emotion just come out,” said Cleveland, reflecting back on the day. “It’s a complete dream.”
Said Aborqui: “When I was little I used to think I wasn’t going to go anywhere because everybody was better than me….It’s crazy because I’ve improved so much. D-I or D-II was my goal, and I reached it because of everybody here.”