COUCH CORNER: Arvin High women’s soccer team had another great year | The Delano Disc
I would like to tell you about a special group of young female athletes from Arvin High School. You may not remember this but before COVID the Arvin High School Lady Bears football team won their first ever valley championship in 2019. Well this year they had another great year .
The Lady Bears hadn’t won a valley championship in all of Arvin High School’s history, so Coach Tello’s 2019 championship was quite the feat. As you may know, high school athletics has been deeply impacted by COVID-19. It’s great to see that post-COVID the Arvin High School Lady Bears football team is back in the spotlight. Recently, Coach Tello’s new Lady Bear varsity football team won against all of their competing South Sequoia League opponents. Yes, the Arvin High School Lady Bears football team went 12-0 in the NSSL League competition.
The women’s soccer program has changed drastically thanks to the coaching of Luis Tello and his family. He took over the program in 2015 when their overall record was 5-15. It was during this season that Coach Tello realized things had to change for the school and the girls. He merged his club team Bakersfield Stars FC with the Arvin football program. It took time, but the coaching staff saw results. In the 2016-17 season, Coach Tello took the women’s soccer program to its first Valley Finals appearance, where they lost on penalties. In this difficult defeat, the coach and the team knew that to achieve their goal, they would only have to work a little harder. And they did.
In the 2018-19 season, they attended the Hoover Tournament in Fresno and played against Tulare Union, a Division II team. Arvin being a Division VI side there should have been a difference but there wasn’t as they tied Tulare Union. Seeing what the girls were capable of, Coach Tello knew the team had great things in store.
That year, they raced through league play with an 11-1 record, securing the league championship title for the first time in the history of Arvin’s women’s soccer program. That season, they even managed to beat a private school in Fresno for the D-VI CIF-CS Championship, winning their first regional playoff game against Venice High School, then losing the semi-final against South El Monte, l team that ended up winning the state championship. From then on, the Lady Bears won the Valley in D-VI for two consecutive years totaling three championships.
These girls come from working families, the players who work mainly in the fields and then go to train. The school does not have the luxury of having players come to train. The girls do not take private lessons and have not played club football all their lives. For many girls, they touch a soccer ball for the first time in high school during a tryout.
As you might think, they’re underrated and get little media coverage, but with all this success, their opponents and all of Kern County should watch out, because they’re making a statement: they’re here to win.
With three consecutive valley titles and four tournament appearances, they are now ranked higher and the competition is more intense. They also learn to succeed in life. Many girls have gone to college and continue their studies while playing.
In 2022, the Lady Bears felt they could win it all this season, but it ended early. They played Dinuba and had a total of 30 shots for that game, but it was just one of those games where the ball didn’t bounce. Every player since 2018-19 has contributed to the team’s current situation. This legacy gives the team the confidence they needed to know that a Valley Championship is something achievable.
The seniors this season, Ashley Ochoa, Noemi Velez, Denise Ortiz, Citlali Sanchez and Diana Reyes, have played a huge role in the team’s success. They were the heart of the team, but with this new found confidence, you will see the young girls rise to power and carry on the legacy. Expect to hear more about this outstanding program in the future.
If you have any questions about this or any other District 4 topic, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] or 661-868-3680. Have a safe week and congratulations to the Arvin Lady Bears!
David Couch represents Kern County’s 4th District.