CNCC soccer adds Moffat County’s Nayeli Perez Rodriguez, new coach Kevin Hurtado | CraigDailyPress.com

CNCC soccer adds Moffat County’s Nayeli Perez Rodriguez, new coach Kevin Hurtado

The Spartans are startin’ anew on the soccer field.

Colorado Northwestern Community College women’s soccer brought in a new local player Friday as recent Moffat County High School graduate Nayeli Perez Rodriguez signed her letter of intent to compete this fall.

Perez Rodriguez capped off her time at MCHS graduating a year early through the alternative school program Youth Experiencing Success, as well as the leading scorer for the Bulldog soccer team, earning seven goals and one hat trick during the season.

The year ended with a 2-11 record, though she said that has added to her fortitude in the sport.

“Since I was so used to fighting and trying hard all the time, I think that’ll really help me here,” she said. “Originally I wasn’t really interested in college, but I figured I should take the chance and get some new opportunities.”

She was approached to join the CNCC program by new women’s coach Kevin Hurtado, who was impressed by her style of play after seeing her in the final game of the season against Grand Valley.

Recommended Stories For You

Hurtado was first took up the coaching position at the beginning of May and has been on the lookout for talent.

“Knowing I’ve basically got to start from scratch, I’ve been looking to recruit players from all over,” he said. “Seeing Nayeli play, every time she had the ball at her feet, she always looked to strike the ball toward goal. At this level, that is such an underrated quality. As a forward, if you can create scoring chances from distance like Nayeli does, that opens up so many things for the team. We’re very excited to have her.”

Hurtado has also brought in athletes from the Western Slope and Front Range and will continue to add to the lineup through the summer.

“I’m trying to build an attack-minded team, and with some of the girls we have plus Nayeli, I think that’ll work really well,” he said.

Most recently, Hurtado was employed at Ottumwa, Iowa, as an assistant coach with Indian Hills Community College, a group that just missed a berth in the national tournament last season, falling in the championship game for Iowa Community College Athletic Conference, losing by penalty kicks to Iowa Western.

He also has served as girls varsity soccer coach at Benton High School in Benton, Louisiana, a team which nearly tripled its initial roster of 16 and grew to one of the top five teams in the state.

With a lifetime in the sport starting in El Paso, Texas, Hurtado competed and later coached for Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport, where he faced off against CNCC men’s coach Joe Eades, who was at Louisiana State University.

In addition to scouting at other high schools, Hurtado said he plans to host open tryouts at the end of the month, with official practices beginning in August.

“This was a great opportunity for me to come here and build a competitive team,” he said. “Looking forward to what this season presents.”