Farmington High is starting to earn a reputation as a soccer school after two more Scorpions signed National Letters of Intent to play collegiately on Wednesday.
Jermey Klepac and Ellae Montoya both signed as part of National Signing Day, with Klepac selecting Division II Eastern New Mexico University and Montoya signing with her dream school Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz.
"This is exciting. I never thought I could go to a D2 school because of my grades, but I really picked it up with my ACT score and now I am here signing with Eastern," Klepac said.
It was just a year ago that Klepac's older brother, CJ, signed with the University of New Mexico.
"It is a great honor. My parents (Juraj and Joanna) have done a lot for me," Klepac said.
Farmington head coach Ryan Atkinson also attended ENMU, and played for coach Harold Muñoz when Muñoz was still an assistant coach for ENMU.
"It is cool to see an athlete who I am coaching go to the school I went to," Atkinson said. "The coach has called me and we have been able to talk about Jermey, and he has given me things to work on with Jermey this spring to help him improve."
Klepac, who was named the 4A player of the year in 2012, aims to play right back where he can utilize his defensive skills.
"I am excited for it but nervous at the same time. It is a great feeling signing with a college and knowing you will be playing with the top division guys," Klepac said.
Klepac said it will be nice to have a brother to call next year if he struggles with the adjustment to college.
"I can call CJ whenever. I look up to him a lot and he always tells me what to do and what not to do," he said. "I just want to push myself and stay focused so I don't end up back here. If I don't slack off, nothing can bring me down."
Montoya plans on making waves in the classroom and on the pitch at Embry Riddle.
"Embry Riddle is my Harvard. I have wanted to attend the University since I was 12," Montoya said. "Playing soccer there is a bonus."
Montoya was a standout goalkeeper for FHS, earning first-team all state honors in 2011 and second-team all state recognition in 2012.
She is the first player to sign with a college to play women's soccer from FHS in Shannon Gill's eight years as the head coach of the Lady Scorps.
"For her to be able to say she played college soccer, it is a great memory to have in life," Gill said. "I am so proud of her because her heart and determination has got her to this point."
Montoya hopes to compete for the starting job, though she will be behind a senior during her freshman season.
"I told her to not be content sitting on the bench," Gill said. "I don't care if it is a senior playing in front of her, she has to strive to want that starting position."
Montoya credited Gill for helping her become a more vocal leader on the field.
"Communicating more is what I needed to do to get to a better school for soccer," Montoya said.
Montoya has lived for the pressure moments as a goalkeeper, thriving in shootouts.
"I have loved the position since I was 10. I like the clutch moments and being able to save the day," she said.
While playing for her club team, the Albuquerque United Football Club, Montoya was also a part of four New Mexico Stat Cup winning teams.
"Playing club has been big for me. It is probably how I got noticed. All the college tournaments we went to is where they saw me first," Montoya said.
Montoya hopes to become a pilot after studying aerospace engineering.
Klepac aims to study physical education to perhaps one day become a high school soccer coach himself.
Both Atkinson and Gill hope Wednesday's signings only encourage more athletes in Farmington to pursue soccer dreams.
"Anytime you have kids signing with D1, D2, NAIA or junior colleges, playing at the next level is very impressive," Atkinson said. "It shows the strength of the program."
Said Gill: "Farmington has always been a baseball school. For us to get exposure for soccer, it lets kids out there know there is a shot for them if they have heart and determination."