WASILLA — Mary Beth Latta did not play for one of the Valley’s ASAA Division I or Division II girls’ varsity soccer programs. But that didn’t stop Latta from scoring a chance to play at the next level.
Latta, a member of the Our Lady of the Valley co-ed team, will play college soccer at Truett McConnell University in Georgia next year.
“I’m super excited,” Latta said.
Latta has been playing soccer since she was about 4 years old, she said, and has been on travel teams since the age of 10. Latta spent her high school career playing co-ed soccer in an ASAA-sanctioned fall league. The Our Lady of the Valley team was known as the Wasilla Lake Christian School squad before Wasilla Lake closed its doors prior to the 2019-2020 school year.
Perseverance was key during her search for a future soccer program, Latta said. She targeted Truett McConnell early in the process.
“I emailed (the coach) constantly for a year,” Latta said.
Latta said she considered other schools, but Truett McConnell aligned with what she was looking for in a future school.
“Initially I was super interested because it’s a small Christian school,” Latta said. “It’s super close to all of my family, and my sister.”
Truett McConnell also sports a competitive soccer program. The Bears have captured back-to-back Appalachian Athletic Conference regular season champions, and won the AAC tournament for the first time in 2019. Truett McConnell also advanced to the NAIA national tournament.
“They’re in a really competitive league,” Latta said.
Latta said a visit to the campus in Cleveland, Georgia, cemented her decision.
“The coach was amazing and the campus was beautiful. You could tell it was definitely a Christian school, which is important to me,” Latta said.
Latta said she made the initial visit in July of 2019 and returned in September to meet her future teammates. She will be back on campus next week for another visit, and Latta said she hopes to talk with the coaching staff about her potential role with the team.
Latta has played an attacking forward position with her co-ed team, but has played all over the field through her career. Latta said she feels her versatility could be key moving forward.
“It’s definitely going to help me a lot going into college,” Latta said. “It will help me with playing time. I can go where the coach needs.”
Contact Frontiersman managing editor Jeremiah Bartz at firstname.lastname@example.org.