Diamond in the rough: Trojans’ Peralta signs to play college football – Reuters Sports News
WORTHINGTON — Team wins have been hard to come by for the Worthington High School women’s soccer team over the years. But for goaltender Chantel Peralta, her impressive career will continue.
Peralta, who has stood out in goal with more than her share of outstanding saves for the Trojans, signed a scholarship offer Friday to play for the University of Minnesota-Morris program next year.
“I feel excited for my future,” the elder said. “I feel proud of myself too. It’s like a dream of mine for so long. I thought it was a small town, that’ll probably never happen. But it passed. That’s why I’m happy.
Although the Trojans have compiled a 4-38-1 record over the past three years, including a 2-14 record in 2021, Peralta has been active and managed to stop shots. In the Trojans’ final regular season game last season – a 3-0 loss to Fairmont – Peralta’s performance was described by The globe sportswriter Scott Mansch calls him “often brilliant”.
As a WHS keeper, Peralta never had time to rest. The Trojans are not known for their defense on the pitch, and another keeper might have been demoralized having to deal with so many shots. But Peralta kept fighting.
“Sometimes the women’s soccer team was teased how often we lose. But no one sees how hard we train, how long the hours are, how long we stay in the weight room. We know that. ourselves, so we hijack everything and ignore it,” Peralta said on Friday.
“It just gave me the motivation to keep going, to try hard every game. Yes, there were a lot of goals that went through the net, but there was also a lot of sweat and saves.
The 5-foot-9 Peralta has long arms and a good goalie frame. She has been playing football since she was in eighth grade. Graduation has made the Cougars slim down to the goalie position, and while Peralta will be a freshman with a lot to learn next fall, she can’t wait to get her studies started.
Her high school coach, Emily Ahlquist, believes Morris’ women’s soccer program welcomes a new player with a lot to offer.
“She has come a long way in those years (2.5 at WHS University). She has worked hard on and off the pitch to improve. She also put a lot of effort into her schoolwork. And colleges are looking for that,” Ahlquist said, adding with a smile that Peralta “probably has the most goalie saves on shots in our section.
Soccer is a lot tougher at the college level than it is in high school, said Ahlquist, who was a goaltender herself during the time she played. In middle school, she says, shooting is much more difficult. A goalkeeper must work their reflexes diligently and bounce back quickly after attempting a save.
But Peralta, she said, has a high level of motivation and pride – and that’s not all.
“She’s got a really good intuition for where the shots are going and when they’re going to shoot,” said Ahlquist, who is retiring this year after 14 years as the Trojans coach. “When you tell (Chantel) something to work on, she’ll go after it. She’s got a real good work ethic. … That combination of having the skills and having the drive to go out and improve, that will only help him.