ROCKVILLE — Chalk up two more scholarships for athletes from Solano Community College.
In an intimate ceremony in the Hall of Fame foyer of the school’s gym on Wednesday, SCC soccer players Bryce Branagan-Franco and Candis Hatfield signed their letters of intent to play soccer at Northwest Christian University in Eugene, Ore.
Both team captains from last season, Branagan-Franco, a Napa High graduate, and Hatfield, from Armijo, will have nearly all of their tuitions paid thanks in part to athletics and academics.
With former Solano players Michelle Giron and Karlie Mast already a part of the Beacons’ roster, Falcons coach Jeff Cardinal said the transition to the four-year school should be fairly easy.
“It worked out for those two players last year and I think these players got in contact with them as well and it worked out,” the coach said. “I think the scholarship money they have to give is pretty good. They are like 90 percent.
“The academic part of it is a big one because part of that 90 percent that they are getting is obviously the academic money. It’s based on their grades. If they didn’t have those academics, they would probably still have the opportunity to go there, but maybe wouldn’t get as much money (toward tuition). Whenever you have academics, that’s definitely going to help.”
The two players went on a visit to the school and both felt at home.
“Our trip out there was really awesome,” said Branagan-Franco, who plans on majoring in exercise science with a minor in business. “What appealed to me the most was the unity of the team. I’ve always been big on team unity, working together as a team and doing things together as a team. I felt like when I went there, it was all about team unity. I really felt at home.
“(Solano) really taught me a lot about teamwork. We would go on trips and we would do all the things as a team. There was no one person that made a difference. All of us made a difference. And I think in Oregon, all of us will make a difference there. I felt like coming from Solano, I’m just going to another Solano team at the four-year level.”
Added Hatfield, “We’ve had some teammates go there last year, so we kind of got the connection with them. We went there and we just loved it. We loved the environment. They have smaller classrooms, which we both like, and a really nice campus right next to the U of O (University of Oregon), which is really cool. And the soccer field is nice.”
Hatfield, who will study psychology, also noted that “(Coach) Cardinal definitely connected us with the coaches and so we got to talk to the coaches. The level of play (at Solano) helped us prepare for the next level and be ready to take the next step.”
Branagan-Franco was also more than satisfied with her new school’s facilities.
“It was nice to go out to the fields and all the nice facilities they have,” she said. “Our training room is actually underground. That’s really cool. And it’s huge. We have our own lockers, which I thought was really cool, too.”
The Beacons struggled to an 4-11-2 record last season, but Cardinal thinks these two new editions can only benefit Northwest Christian.
“I saw that team play last year and they were getting better,” Cardinal said. “With the addition of two more players, they are just building and building.”
With the recent success of SCC’s program the Beacons are building with the right kind of players.
Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.