Playing short-handed this soccer season, the Socorro Lady Warriors earned the respect of District 3/4/5 3A coaches. Faith Lucero was named Co-Player of the Year, Amanda Saenz was honored as Coach of the Year, and Socorro has four total all-district selections.
Lucero (also first-team midfielder) booted in 23 goals and was in on 11 assists, making her part of 44 of the 56 goals the Lady Warriors scored this season, and she shares Co-Player of the Year honors with Ruidoso’s Alex Chavez.
Last week, Lucero scored a goal and assisted on another in the New Mexico High School Coaches Association’s All-Star game.
Saenz’s being voted Coach of the Year by her peers was a testament to her work with a short-handed team that finished fourth in league play. Even without a full roster, Socorro proved competitive in all its games.
Despite fielding as few as eight players at times, Socorro went 7-12-1 in 2023 and posted a 2-5-1 record in district play. The Lady Warriors scored 19 more goals 56-37 than in 2022 and gave up 48 goals compared to 64 the previous season.
Senior defender Marae Angel and goalkeeper Abrianna Romero (207 saves) were named to the all-district second team, while Thalia Acosta was an honorable mention.
“If you have strong leaders on the field, it’s going to show,” Saenz said. “We had players like Faith, Abrianne, Jada (Castillio) and Thalia (Acosta) with leadership on the field. They were stepping off and wanting it and being passionate about it. That’s the biggest thing.”
Saenz admitted she was a little shocked by her award. “It was a big surprise to me. I was not expecting that at all, so it’s pretty cool,” Saenz said.
With a strong season under their belt and a marked improvement from the previous year, now is the time to recruit more players out of the hallways. A mini soccer camp for youth players was one step Saenz took this season, and she is hoping for better numbers next year.
“Obviously, we must survive, see if we can get through another year, and see if the numbers can come out somehow. We’re losing three big players, and you never know if players are going to move away or they’re going to stay or if they’re going to play in the following year. If everybody stays, we still have eight, but that leadership (Angel, Castillo and Lucero) is just something that will be super tough to replace,” Saenz said.
Lucero’s goal-scoring will be hard to replace but not as hard as her leadership examples on and off the field. “I’ve spent a lot of time with her. I spent hours after she tore her ACL going through rehab with her. Faith is one of a kind,” Saenz said. “It’s going to be super tough without her, but I expect nothing but great things for Faith in the future.”
The 2023 Socorro Lady Warriors soccer included Abrianna Romero, Trinity Apodoca, Faith Lucero, Taylee Apodaca, Alexis Chavez, Aletycia Chavez, Jazmine Alvarado, Avery Timmons, Thalia Acosta, Marae Angel, Jada Castillo and Heavenly Chavez. The Lady Warriors were coached by Amanda Saenz and Chailynn Amaro.